Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, at the weekend linked resolution of security challenges arising from the activities of Boko Haram to genuine participation of political, traditional, intellectual and religious leaders in the North in the on-going peace process.
Kuku, who was a guest speaker at the Woodrow Wilson Centre in Washington DC, United States, said with the setting up and inauguration of the Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, President Goodluck Jonathan had shown that his administration “is irrevocably committed to the restoration of peace, safety and security in the northern part of the country.”
Kuku, who is also the Chairman Presidential Amnesty Programme, however warned that the President’s genuine intentions might become futile if known and respected leaders in the North continued to remain aloof.
He explained that President Jonathan “has shown good faith. He has shown leadership and he has shown commitment. He truly wants every part of Nigeria to be in peace. However, respected leaders in the North must help Nigeria; they must help our president; they must get involved in the peace process.
“They must help rein in the leaders of the Boko Haram sect. These northern leaders know several of these persons. They have to help bring them to the negotiating table. This is how this crisis can be solved.”
He commended those who accepted their nomination to serve in the committee constituted by the government, noting that it was a crucial national assignment and that his office was willing and open to share knowledge and experience with members of the committee on how to resolve the crisis.
Speaking on how the Niger Delta militancy was curbed, Kuku said if not because the Niger Delta leaders keyed into the late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s vision to dialogue with former agitators in the zone, the Niger Delta amnesty programme would not have been a success and that part of Nigeria would still be in turmoil.
“It is true that it was President Yar’Adua who proclaimed amnesty for agitators in the Niger Delta but it must also be clarified that Yar’Adua proclaimed amnesty for the former agitators in the Niger Delta after months of dialogue with them. The process was led by then vice-president, who is now the president, (Jonathan),” Kuku said.
He added that Jonathan defied security advice and went to the then dreaded Camp 5 in Delta State to dialogue with the militant leaders led by the dreaded Tompolo and extracted peace commitment from them.