Why dialogue with Boko Haram is tough, by Mathew Hassan Kukah

Mathew Hassan Kukah Mathew Hassan Kukah

Oct 3rd, 2011 – Why dialogue with Boko Haram is tough, by Mathew Hassan Kukah

It will be difficult for the government to dialogue with Boko Haram, Catholic Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah said yesterday.

Kukah, who played a role in the resolution of the Ogoni dispute, said there has been a disconnect between the sect and their grievances.

The Islamic fundamentalist sect has claimed responsibility for the bombings in the North.

There have been calls for the government to open talks with the group, but the sect has rebuffed its overtures for peace.

“Boko Haram’s grievance two years ago was their frustration with the excesses of the police and the military apparatus, but subsequently, there has been a disconnect and we don’t know what they are asking for,” Bishop Kukah said.

He spoke in Ibadan during the second National Missions Congress of Nigeria, held at St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral.

He enjoined Nigerians to believe in President Goodluck Jonathan’s strategies in the war against the activities of Boko Haram.

Bishop Kukah urged Nigerians to conquer fear and desist from activities that create more fear and confusion through bomb scares and unguided statements.

He said: “Everybody has become an expert in conversations regarding Boko Haram without realising that we are playing into the hands of very dangerous elements. They have succeeded in instilling fear in all of us.

“It is now pertinent to believe what Jonathan said in his Independence Day broadcast. We should believe in the strategies and plans he has put on ground to curb this Boko Haram menace. We should encourage the government in this onerous task.”

He said conquering the Boko Haram crisis is the responsibility of every Nigerian because “we all must join hands with the government”

Catholic Archbishop of Kaduna and Episcopal Chairman of the National Missionary Council of Nigeria, Most Rev. Matthew Man-Oso Ndagoso, said dialogue and the pursuit of peaceful co-existence among religious groups is imperative for National development and stability. This, he noted, were integral duties of all Catholic Missions. 

Also in Ibadan at the weekend, Head, Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, Dr Osisioma Nwolise, said the Boko Haram sect is not a terrorist organisation.

The expert in terrorism described the group as a liberation force in the mould of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) and others which emerged as a result of struggle for social justice.

Nwolise spoke on the theme: “Nigeria @ 51: Where is the life more abundant for the masses?” at a public lecture and award ceremony to mark the independence anniversary. It was organised by the Centre for Good Governance in Africa.

Dr Nwolise explained that the abundant life promised Nigerians by the nationalists at independence has remained elusive.

He said: “Between 1450s and 1850s, over 400,000 Africans were forcibly carried away as slaves. Today, if a slave ship of one million capacity berths at Apapa port and calls for those who want to go voluntarily to the United States, United Kingdom, on slavery and the the ship will not take one hour to be filled. It shows the extent our post-independence political rulers have devalued our lives,” he said.

Programme coordinator Adefemi Johnson, said while it was noteworthy that President Jonathan has finally made up his mind to carry out power sector reforms, it is important for him not to delay in executing programmes and projects that will bring better tidings to citizens.

The Director General of National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA), Abuja, the chairman of Offa Local Government, Kwara State, Mr Saheed Popoola, and others received African Symbol for Quality Leadership award (The Nation).