The process of dialogue already embarked upon by the Federal Government with members of the Boko Haram sect will continue despite the declaration of a state of emergency in three northern states, the Presidency said on Friday.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, made the clarification in response to a call by the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, to the FG to jettison the idea of granting pardon to the sect because of the magnitude of destruction carried out by the deadly group.
Past and current leadership of NANS, led by its President, Comrade Yinka Gbadebo, who were in Abuja to confer the Meritorious Life Membership Award of the student body on Kuku; a former national mobilisation officer of the body, had criticised President Goodluck Jonathan for proposing amnesty to Boko Haram, describing the sect as evil and destructive.
But Kuku explained that the President had not breached any law by trying to use the Carrot-and-Stick approach to bring about lasting peace in northern Nigeria.
Kuku said, “No price is too much for the present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to pay in its bid to achieve peace and progress in Nigeria, just as was done by the government in the Niger Delta, when militancy was cutting down oil production seriously.
“I will therefore appeal to you all to support Mr. President to ensure the success of the current effort to fish out those who are trying to destroy Nigeria so as to ensure that Nigeria remains as one and continues to deliver service to all Nigerians.
“Indeed I want NANS to understand why the President has retained all democratic structures in the three states where state of emergency has been declared in the north and to cooperate with the administration in its effort to separate genuine agitation for the provision of basic needs from those who deliberately want to destroy Nigeria for reasons best known to them and their collaborators,” Kuku said.
Earlier, Comrade Yinka Gbadebo had praised Kuku for his role in stemming the tide of militancy in the Niger Delta but decried a situation where NANS was not involved in major policies and programmes of the current administration, especially in the education sector.
The NANS leader also called on the government to tackle rising unemployment in the country so as to keep the youths engaged and reduce crime in the country.