‘FG Not Involved in Talks With Boko Haram’ – Presidency
The Presidency on Saturday said the Federal Government was not involved in any formal negotiation with Boko Haram as part of ongoing efforts to rescue the girls.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said although there could be ongoing efforts by individuals who thought they could assist in resolving the crisis, the government was not officially involved.
He said, “The Federal Government is not involved in any formal negotiation with Boko Haram.
“What has happened is that a number of people came up to say they had access to Boko Haram and that they wanted to assist by setting up their own initiatives.
“Don’t forget also that the Nigeria Police announced a reward of N50m for anybody who can provide useful information to assist in the ongoing investigations as well as search and rescue operations.
“Under such circumstances, it is normal that people will come forward and contact whoever they think they know in government or approach the two standing committees — the committee on dialogue and the fact-finding committee.
“There may be such things going on between individuals or individuals who claim they have information talking to people in the system but there is no formal official negotiation between government and any Boko Haram element.”
On the meeting former President Olusegun Obasanjo had with families of some Boko Haram members recently, where they demanded government’s consent to go on with their mediation plan, Abati said the initiative was a welcome development.
He said, “The President’s position consistently has been that winning the war against terrorism is a collective responsibility, that any Nigerian who wants to support government or provide useful information is welcome.
“So, whatever initiative former President Obasanjo is pursuing, as a stakeholder, concerned citizen and an elder statesman, such initiatives are welcome.
“I don’t see what is wrong in either President Obasanjo or anybody trying to help in solving the problem,” he added.
When asked whether Obasanjo was fronting for the government in his latest peace move, the presidential spokesman said he had no information on that.
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