Two prominent northern leaders have described the recently announced ceasefire agreement between the Federal Government and the Boko Haram group as a political gimmick to return President Goodluck Jonathan to office by 2015.
Making their positions known on the ceasefire deal, Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and former Inspector General of Police, IGP Ibrahim Coomasie (rtd), and a chieftain of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Professor Ango Abdullahi, expressed doubts about the sincerity of the Federal Government as scores are still being killed on a daily basis by suspected terrorists.
They said: “We in the Northern Nigeria are the ones losing because our people are still being killed, property being destroyed and people charged with the constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property are not doing much”.
IGP Coomasie (rtd) said: “First of all, I have my doubt over the existence of the ceasefire agreement. Previously, several attempts have been made to reach a ceasefire agreement and get amnesty for members of Boko Haram. But, none received adequate attention.
“This insurgency has been going on for five years and we have been hearing of many Boko Haram leaders being killed. They said Shekau had been killed. Later, they said he was alive. Now they said he had been finally killed.
“We want to know the leaders of Boko Haram negotiating with the government. And who has broken the ceasefire agreement? Is it national, continental or international? And then, what are the guarantees for this ceasefire and why did Boko Haram break the agreement and they started shooting and killing people immediately after the announcement of the ceasefire.
“Immediately after the announcement of the ceasefire agreement, it has created certain doubt as to whether the whole thing is true or just a gimmick. But, if it is true, and we are sure we are dealing with the right people from both sides, then there is hope for this country. But, if it is not true and it happens to be another gimmick, which I believe it is, then, there is more to it.
“There are certain questions which need to be asked at the appropriate time. We will ask those questions. We believe that eventually, the truth will come out. We think all are gimmicks. Maybe something became a stumbling block, but suddenly, they rushed into a ceasefire and less than 48 hours after it was announced, it was broken.
“Some said it was broken because the government rushed to announce the ceasefire agreement. If that is anything to go by, it means, that the ceasefire was not concluded before the government announced it. But it could also be that the whole thing is a lie and that is why Boko Haram reacted.
“Head or tail, we in the Northern Nigeria are the ones losing because our people are still being killed, property being destroyed and people charged with the constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property are not doing much”.
‘It’s a reaction to our ultimatum’
In his own reaction, former Vice-Chancellor of the Ahmdau Bello University, Zaria, Professor Abdullahi, said he had wished the ceasefire agreement were genuine, but, according to him, it was a gimmick for the purpose of 2015 elections.
He said: “This is because the population generally believe that President Jonathan is not doing enough, either deliberately not doing enough or he is incompetent and unable to do anything.
“The point now is that, as we head for 2015 elections, he wants to show Nigerians that he is still in charge and that he is able to achieve result, so that he can continue in office that is all. You remember that two months ago, we in the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) gave an ultimatum that by the end of October, we must see result about Chibok girls, but we were called names by the sycophants around the Presidency.
“So, we see this as a reaction to our ultimatum, especially now that the ultimatum is about to expire. Having realised that there was no result, they had to go into hasty announcement of a ceasefire.
“If the ceasefire is true, we see it as a very good thing for the country. Since the announcement of the agreement, so many people have been killed, bombs have been detonated, more women have been abducted, so where is the ceasefire?
“So, it now left for Nigerians to judge as to whether the President is succeeding or he is failing”.