FG, Northern Elders’ Insincerity Stalled Pardon — Mohammed

FG, Northern Elders’ Insincerity Stalled Pardon — Mohammed

The National Coordinator of the Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, has blamed the Federal Government and the Northern Elders’ Forum for the breakdown of talks on amnesty for Boko Haram.

FG, Northern Elders’ Insincerity Stalled Pardon — Mohammed

Speaking on Boko Haram’s rejection of Federal Government’s amnesty offer, the Second Republic lawmaker told SUNDAY PUNCH that the members of NEF were interested in using the opportunity to get money from the Federal Government, adding that they were not representing the North.

He said, “Now that the whole exercise has collapsed, let the Federal Government and the so-called northern elders tell us what the next step will be. In fact, there was no step at all; both the Federal Government and the so-called northern elders have been insincere about dialogue and amnesty right from the beginning.

“There was no way it would have worked because the whole thing was about these so-called northern elders, who are agents of the Federal Government, getting money from the government. They don’t represent anybody in the North but themselves.”

Mohammed further queried NEF’s move of trying to negotiate on behalf of Boko Haram members.

He said, “These so-called northern elders are people who have not won any election before, and are so unpopular among northerners. They do not have influence and they want to negotiate on behalf of Boko Haram. You cannot negotiate with people you don’t know. You cannot negotiate on the pages of the newspapers and on electronic media.

“The North has a population of about 80 million people and about 72 per cent of the country’s landmass. So, it is very vast and no set of people can wake up and claim to represent the North. If want you want to negotiate, you have to reach out, with sincerity of purpose, to people on ground, who have some influence in their constituencies. The amnesty talks couldn’t work because Boko Haram members do not respect members of the Northern Elders’ Forum.”

When contacted, spokesman of the NEF, Dr. Paul Unongo, said Mohammed was wrong about their intention in the amnesty talk.

 He said, “I know Junaid Mohammed and I find it difficult to believe that he said that, because he knows that some of us are idealistic and noble people. We didn’t say we are politically elected to represent the North.

We just said we are elders and people who have served this country and we are sincerely making our contributions towards solving the problem. And in doing so, we have reached to various groups and people in the North, including Junaid Mohammed himself. We play the politics of building and bringing people together, not that of abuse, we so will not join issues with anybody.”

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