Federal Government officials are now trading blames over the phantom ceasefire deal brokered by the President of Chad, Idriss Déby, with sources saying the Chadian leader might have set Nigeria up.
“Nigerian government officials no longer have access to Déby, who is now said to be sick. It appears he set us up to drop our guard and allow Boko Haram to gain ground,” an official told online news medium, TheCable.
TheCable had reported how Déby put the deal together, revealing how he said Boko Haram got in touch with him, how he authenticated
the message and how he got the Nigerian government involved in the negotiations. A journalist with links to the group had however described the claim as “shadows and bubbles” and warned Nigerians not to believe it.
A government official, who spoke with the online medium however accused Déby of setting a trap for Nigeria.
“The period of the phantom negotiations gave the terror group time to regroup, reinforce and restrategise, which is the intent of Déby for asking the Nigerian government to negotiate a ceasefire with Boko Haram. As soon as Nigeria began to make a lot of gains in the war against Boko Haram, owing to the efforts of the military and President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been discussing with regional leaders to halt the insurgency, and at a time the commanders of the sect were being rounded up, that was when the Chadian president approached the Nigerian government asking that it mediates between the parties in the conflict.
“The discussions between the government and the Chadian president on Boko Haram started in September. However, Déby said he was already talking with Boko Haram.
“The government was trying to verify the authenticity of Boko Haram’s representatives in the supposed negotiations, but Déby asked the Nigerian government to take a chance that he had done the verification already. He affirmed that Boko Haram’s representatives were truly standing in for the group in the negotiations.”
“It was at this stage the government nominated the principal secretary to the president, Awwal Tukur, to be part of the negotiations in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad.
“Tukur was the one spearheading the dialogue with Boko Haram on behalf of the Nigerian government. He had the first contact with group. It was still in the middle of the supposed negotiations that Danladi Ahmadu announced on Voice of America that the group had ceased fire. Following the announcement of ceasefire by the group, the Nigerian government equally announced a ceasefire on October 17 for the supposed negotiations to continue.
“A Nigerian delegation left for Chad on October 21 for talks with Boko Haram, but the Chadian president became evasive. The Nigerian delegation was told that Déby was sick and that the meeting be rescheduled for October 23.
“However, on that date, the delegation was told that the Chadian president was still sick after waiting for six hours. The delegation made visits to Chad a number of times, but met a brickwall.
“As Boko Haram’s resumed attacks grew in intensity, the Nigerian government became worried. Many attempts were made to inquire from the Chadian president, who was supposed to be mediating between the Nigerian government and Boko Haram, but the attempts were all futile.
“France was privy to the botched negotiations, but said nothing just like the Chadian government.
“It became clear to the Nigerian government that Déby was working for Boko Haram. The government of Chad has not said a word to the Nigerian government since Boko Haram’s resumed onslaughts. It has simply refused to make any comment or communicate with the Nigerian government.
“The Nigerian government has also ceased to speak with the Chadian government on the matter since it is now clear that Chad is working with Boko Haram,” the source said.
Boko Haram has killed some 12,000 Nigerians since it started its attacks in 2009. The efforts of the government in ending the attacks was beginning to yield fruits until troops were called to withdraw following a purported ceasefire deal which was followed by series of attacks and the takeover of some key towns in the country’s north east.
The military seem to be back to where it started in its fight, but recent developments may help the military to be more determined in its fight this time around.