Following the ceasefire agreement the Federal Government said it has signed with Islamist sect Boko Haram, which has been responsible for series of attack in the northern part of Nigeria since 2009, Nigerians have been expressing how they feel about the FG’s recent effort towards lasting peace in northern Nigeria.
While some laud the government’s effort, others express their disappointment as they believe the sins of the sect are unforgivable.
In his reaction, National Coordinator of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Otunba Gani Adams said it was a step in the right direction. In a telephone chat with Vanguard, he said: “It is a step in the right direction and I think from there, they will create room to dialogue with the Federal Government and state their position.
“They cannot continue to waste lives just like that. I don’t know what they stand for but no matter what they stand for, their approach is wrong and deadly. Nobody in the world will support their struggle. But calling for a ceasefire will afford Nigerians the opportunity to know exactly what they want.”
Pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere was however skeptical of the recent development, saying the identity of the group calling for ceasefire should be ascertained. Afenifere’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin said “We should be sure which of the Boko Haram sect is calling for a ceasefire. Is it a strategy to rule or what is it all about?
“The identity of the group should be ascertained and its genuineness should be known before the Federal Government is taken off guard. Since emergency was declared in those three states (Yobe, Adamawa and Borno), the incidence of bombings has gone down but killings continue here and there. So, we must know how genuine the call is and the identity of the group calling for the ceasefire. Was it not Boko Haram that said it was the Federal Government that needed amnesty?”
Also reacting on the development, former governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa expressed optimism that the ceasefire will resolve the insurgency.
“We hope that the Federal Government will respond favourably and effectively to the ceasefire,” he said.
Founder of the Oodua People’s Congress, OPC, Frederick Fasehun, welcomed the ceasefire. He however advised the Presidential Committee not to concede unnecessarily.
“Nigeria has been on the issue of amnesty for long and if they have agreed on a ceasefire, that is commendable. I see it as a roadmap to peace. I hope the committee does the follow-up to this very well. But the committee should go on with their negotiations and should not concede unnecessarily.”
In a similar vein, former Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Alhaji Abubakar Tsav, said “The development is very encouraging. I am happy about it and I commend the committee for doing a good job. The committee should go on with its mandate in order to achieve a lasting peace. The committee should be encouraged the more at this stage to conclude its job.”
Commenting on the development, President, Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Shetima said in spite of the ceasefire, the Federal Government must address the issues that led to the insurgency.
“Whether they cease fire or not, the truth of the matter is that Nigerians must rise to the occasion. Last year, it was the same story we heard when they called for a ceasefire and still, they unleashed a lot of mayhem in Northern Nigeria,” Shetima said.
“Also, we must appreciate the fact that the whole of Northern Nigeria has been bastardised because everybody is now a member of Boko Haram. If they call for a ceasefire, what about the remaining factions? This does not mean that the Federal Government must go to sleep, the insurgency must be condemned totally.”
Whether the ceasefire will bring lasting peace to northern Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole remain to be seen. Boko Haram members are supposed to be Muslims, based on the cause they claim to be fighting for. This has led a lot of Nigerians to think the ceasefire was called for the Holy month of Ramadan, and many fear that the insurgency will resume after the fast–more reason why the government should not go to sleep after the ceasefire agreement.