The Presidential Committee on the Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts in Northern Nigeria, came under severe criticisms, yesterday, from across the country following denial by Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau that the sect had entered into a cease-fire agreement with the Federal Government.
The Committee came under attack on a day the Joint Task Force (JTF) Operation Restore Order II in Borno State, said that it has succeeded in killing a top commander of Boko Haram sect, Bulabulin Nganaram, who was on the wanted list of the JTF with a N10m bounty. The sect commander who was killed in a shootout with the taskforce was said to be responsible for the killing of a teacher and three students of Sanda Karami Secondary School, Ruwan Zafi Maiduguri.
Chairman of the Committee and Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki, had on a Hausa service programme of Radio France International monitored in Kano, July 8, that the Federal Government has secured a ceasefire deal with the sect which had claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks that have led to deaths of about 4000 people since 2009. The Presidency corroborated Alhaji Turaki’s announcement which it claimed had Shekau’s consent.
Imam Marwana, a member of the sect said to belong to Shekau’s camp reportedly confirmed the truce deal and begged Nigerians to forgive them “over the number of people killed in the country. I appeal to those who lost their loved ones to our activities to forgive us and on our side, we have forgiven all those who committed atrocities against us.”
Denying the cease-fire, weekend, Shekau, who endorsed the attack and killing of a teacher and 29 secondary school students at Mamudo, Yobe State penultimate week, said: “Let me assure you that we will not enter into any truce with these infidels. We will not enter into any truce with the Nigerian government. We believe in the massacre inflicted on the secondary school in Mamudo and Damaturu and other schools. We earlier warned that we were going to burn all schools. They are schools purposely built to fight Islam.”
Reacting to this alleged denial by Shekau, however, a source in the committee said the authenticity of the statement credited to Shekau was in doubt, since it could not be verified. The source added that the committee had never claimed it spoke with the sect leader himself and that unlike in the past, the sect leader never came out to disown the spokesman, who negotiated on behalf of the group.