President of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria, Dr. Datti Ahmed has explained his rejection as member of the newly constituted Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North.
Ahmed, a medical doctor, cited his previous bitter experience with the government when he voluntarily tried to mediate between the authorities and members of the extremist sect, Boko Haram, last year as reason why he rejected membership of the committee.
Speaking during an an interview with the Hausa service of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Ahmed accused the government of insincerity adding that the Chairman of the panel and Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Turaki, as well as the Secretary, who is a nominee of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, would always tell the government what it wanted to hear and “not the truth.”
He said, “Previously, I made such moves twice and it wasn’t the government that asked me to do that. We had reached a stage where, had the government agreed with what we resolved with the sect members, by now we would have forgotten everything. Nigeria would have witnessed peace by now.
“When we told the government everything we discussed with them, and the agreement we had which were not difficult to meet – that first of all if the dialogue was truly genuine their wives and children that were unjustly detained should be released because they committed no crime.
“We advised the government on that; we said even if government continued to detain them, there was no any gain in doing so. The government said they would release them but it did not. That act showed there was deceit on the part of the government. We also said if these people were released, a place should be arranged where we would sit and discuss matters.
“Secondly, the chairman of this committee is a minister and the secretary too works for the government. So whatever we discuss, they are the ones who will write and take it to the government. So, I believe if this meeting is done, what they will write will be full of lies.
“They will feed the government with what the government wants to hear and we would be in trouble with the ordinary Nigerians. The minister and secretary will tell lies to the government and we would be left quarrelling with young Nigerians; young enough to be our children.”
According to Ahmed, judging from past experience, government is not fully committed to ending the insurgency.
He said, “It was just like we were going to have a peaceful resolution the next day and what the government should have done was not something difficult. It was just for them to release their (Boko Haram members) wives and reduce tension in Yobe and Borno states and stop persecuting the people there.
“The government said it was going to do that but it did not. It is the same government that wants to do that now? It is the same (Goodluck) Jonathan and his representatives and we are the same people, nothing has changed.”