The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, General Alex Badeh today confirmed reports that the Federal Government (FG) and Boko Haram insurgents have signed a ceasefire agreement. Consequently, he has directed all field officers in the troubled areas to comply immediately.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) warmly welcomes this development. Boko Haram insurgency has cost Nigeria most dearly. Over 3,000 lives have been lost while properties worth billions of naira have been destroyed. The country’s image has also suffered worldwide while individual Nigerian citizens in diaspora have paid one price or the other.
MURIC congratulates the FG for achieving this historical feat. We affirm that no price is too high to bring peace to the North East and consequently to the entire country. We therefore urge the Nigerian authorities to build on this achievement by going beyond a ceasefire.
In particular, FG must push for the release of the Chibok girls from captivity. This will definitely put smiles on the lips of the suffering parents once again. The release of the Chibok girls should be followed by serious dialogue with Boko Haram aimed at discontinuing the orgy of violence in the North East.
In view of the fact that the casus belli of the insurgence has been traced to ignorance, idleness and joblessness, the next task should be to develop impoverished areas where extremism takes root and to extend the tentacles of education to all nooks and cranies of the North East. Thereafter, the youths of the sub-region must be engaged by giving them economic opportunities. It must be a total overhaul necessitating the creation of a North East development board as well as a ministry of North Eastern Nigeria.
MURIC charges the Federal Government to rigorously pursue these objectives knowing very well that it is always better to build peace because no matter how expensive the exercise, war is far more expensive, more painful, more destructive.
Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)