#BBOG: We Are Cautiously Optimistic Over Ceasefire Deal- Ezekwesili
The lead campaigner of the #BringBackOurGirls group and former Minister of Education, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili on Saturday said the group is “extremely anxious and cautiously optimistic” over the ceasefire reached between the Federal government and the Boko Haram terrorist group.
“The reason is simple; there have been many other times where allusion to the girls being freed have been made and have come out of government sources. We want to completely believe that this time we are not going to get any recanting from what has already been offered the public concerning the girls.
“In the whole issue concerning the Chibok girls, we have seen quite some information that has not been properly managed, and in the course of poor management of the information it has given room for doubt and skepticism about whatever is said”, she said on Sunrise Saturday.
Mrs Ezekwesili further said the best evidence that the government can give would be for one of the negotiators to be pictured in the midst of the abducted girls before securing their release, adding that “it will boost everybody’s confidence”.
She also said Nigeria needs to be in a hurry to make progress in every dimension of life, 54 years after independence, insisting that results should be provided by the government as soon as possible.
She added that those calling on people to be patient with the government “haven’t had to hold one of the parents whose daughters are with the terrorists” adding that “if their children were the ones, they would not speak like that. It is too much of a mental agony to have a child who has experienced something like that.
“One thing that is unique in our case is the massive scale of the people taken hostage in our territory”, she argued, insisting that “a nation state was challenged”.
The former education minister also expressed disdain over the manner in which the #BringBackOurGirls Campaign has been given political coloration by commentators and politicians alike and maintained that “whether it is PDP or APC, they should just get the girls back”.
She said the BBOG campaign has engaged the office of the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff, the official lodge of the Borno State government in Abuja as a citizens group demanding for people to carry out their responsibility.
Carrot And Stick Approach
Also speaking on the programme, a former presidential spokesman, Mr Akin Oshintokun advocated for a carrot and stick approach in the fight against insurgency and the mission to rescue the girls.
He noted that the call not to negotiate with terrorists is not a “Nigerian position but an international position.
“I think in this kind of situation what you need to do is carrot and stick” adding that even the powerful nations in the world use the approach “but may not say so openly”.
He urged the government not to rule out negotiations with the terrorist Boko Haram group if the group presents a favourable condition, adding that “you don’t review all what you are doing in the public glare.
He berated the fact that Nigeria is now faced with the reality of mutiny amongst its troops, “where soldiers accuse their commanders of sending them deliberately to be ambushed” adding that “that’s why people are now saying that the Boko Haram is more political than anything else”.
He also commended the truce deal signed by the Federal Government and Boko Haram.
We Expect Our Leaders To Work As Magicians
Another guest on the show, Very Rev. Olusola Makindipe, while noting that Nigerians “as a people do not have a sense of commitment and patriotism”, said “we like our leaders to work like magicians”, adding that “in many instances it has not worked for us”.
He also commended “several organisations”, one of which is the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, for sensitising Nigerians “that we need not to forget these girls in the forest” and that “these sensitisation has also prompted our brothers and sisters outside the territorial waters to come our way and that is why nations in the West and East have been talking and imploring our leaders to do something positive.
He said the Boko Haram group may be wreaking havoc on Nigerians due to their grievances with governance at their local state or federal level.
“And unfortunately, the way they are beginning to express their grievances has brought about loss of lives and abduction of these young girls”, he said.
He said members of the Boko Haram group should not be called terrorists because “in this nation, several wars have been waged against ourselves in the name of hunger, politics, religion and now Boko Haram” adding that “it is always nice for us to get our terms of reference.
He further noted that “all over the world, when nations war against nations, there are ways and means of bringing about truce and good negotiations”.
The Reverend however blamed the military for not performing their constitutional duties and accused Nigerians of committing “verbal mutiny”.
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