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Presidential committee reaches ceasefire deal with Boko Haram — Minister

July 9, 2013

The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Restoration of Peace in the North-East, Tanimu Turaki, has told PREMIUM TIMES his committee has reached an “understanding for ceasefire” with members of the Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnah Lil Da’awati Wal Jihad, popularly known as Boko Haram.
There were unconfirmed reports Monday that the Federal Government had signed an agreement with the sect. But the Special Duties Minister said his committee had indeed reached an understanding with the sect, but that an agreement was yet to be signed.
The formal signing of agreement, he said, would be done later.
In a text message response to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiry, Mr. Turaki said, “We have reached an understanding for ceasefire with them. The formal agreement will follow in due course”.
News of the “understanding for ceasefire” is coming less than 48 hours after dozens of students at Government Secondary School, Mamudo, Yobe State, were killed by gunmen suspected to be members of the extremist Boko Haram.
The presidential committee has been holding meetings with members of the sect who are in detention, and had claimed it obtained valuable information from the meetings that pointed at ways of resolving an insurgency that has left thousands dead and many injured.
Already, President Goodluck Jonathan has, based on the recommendation of the committee, ordered the release of all women and children in detention linked to the deadly sect.
The sect members had insisted on the release of their wives and children in detention as one of the conditions for dialogue.
President Goodluck Jonathan had on April 17 constituted the Minister Turaki-led presidential committee to constructively engage key members of Boko Haram.
The committee was also to define comprehensive and workable framework for resolving the insecurity in the country.
Other members of the committee are Ahmed Lemu, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Musa Shehu (rtd.), Abubakar Tureta, and Abubakar Sodangi.
Also in the committee are Ahmed Makarfi, Mohammed Matawalle, Zakari Ibrahim, Naja’atu Mohammed, Adamu Ladan, Joseph Golwa, A.I. Shehu and R.I Nkemdirim.
Other members are, P. I. Leha, Nura Alkali, Salihu Abubakar, Abubakar Sani Lugga,Ibrahim Tahir, Ibrahim Sab, Baba Ahmed Jidda, Bilal Bulama, and Bolaji Akinyemi
Two members , Datti Ahmed and Shehu Sani, declined to serve on the committee, saying they were not sure of government’s commitment to the process.
The committee’s terms of reference also include developing a framework for the granting of amnesty and setting up of a framework through which disarmament could take place within a 60-day time frame.
 Source-Premium Times

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