The Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 Northern States and the Federal Capital Territory on Sunday asked the Federal Government to disband immediately, the Tanimu Turaki-led Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North.
It said the committee was deceiving Nigerians by claiming that the government had reached a ceasefire deal with members of the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram. It said with the claim of of “no deal” by the leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, on Saturday, the committee had failed in its duty and therefore had no reason to remain in place.
CAN’s National General Secretary , Dr. Musa Asake, also flayed the body which is better known as the amnesty committee and challenged it to name the Boko Haram leaders it reached the said ceasefire with.
Turaki, who is also the Minister of Special Duties, had a week ago said the committee had “reached an understanding” with the sect that would result in a ceasefire.
But the Northern CAN, at a news conference in Kaduna on Sunday by its Public Relations Officer Mr. Sunday Oibe, said Shekau’s denial was a pointer to the fact that the committee had never met with even an ordinary member of the group much less of its leader or leaders.
He said, “We are calling for the immediate disbandment of the amnesty committee. All money that would be squandered on the committee should be put into supporting the Joint Task Force and vulnerable communities in affected states. Enough of this jamboree with scarce public fund. We have heard enough of this hypocrisy.
“There can be no amnesty for unrepentant murderers and insurgents without reconciliation with the victims, and then negotiation. As Christians, forgiveness comes very naturally as taught us by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
“Just as our national body had warned that the amnesty committee was useless, now it has lied to Nigerians for want of any result.
“If you happen to meet some of the committee’s members,they will confess to you in privacy that they have never met any foot soldier of Boko Haram.
“The pronouncement by Shekau has come to vindicate CAN and our national leader, Pastor Ayo Oristejiafor. He was criticised when he said that he did not have confidence in the questionable announcement of a ceasefire between the Federal Government and Boko Haram.
“Today, Boko Haram number one man has come to speak with scorn and contempt against the ceasefire agreement and the said feeling of remorse over their thirst for the blood of Christians and some few Muslims who go against their interest.
“Shekau said that more schools and more people will be killed for learning and teaching Western education in schools in the North. He is the real Boko Haram boss and his threat must be taken seriously.
“We in Northern CAN believe that the amnesty committee is useless and has failed. It lied to Nigerians about this ceasefire just to fool President Goodluck Jonathan to expand its tenure so they can grab more money.
“All those giving the President this unwise advice are either doing it for self-serving reasons or are trying to deceive him into a blunder that will not only destroy him politically, but jeopardise the polity.
In Abuja, General Secretary of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake, told The PUNCH that with what was going on, “somebody somewhere is trying to mislead Nigerians.”
Asake said, “What is happening between the Federal Government’s committee and the denial by Boko Haram is amazing and we are yet to know the truth about what is going on.
“With this ceasefire agreement which the committee is emphasising on, they should tell Nigerians who they have been talking to because it seems they are out to mislead us. Journalists should find out from the committee so that they can tell Nigerians the truth.
“We want these Boko Haram people to come out and nobody has been able to come out. So, this committee should tell us who they have been dialoguing with.Nigerians will like to know the truth about the activities of this committee.”
Chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Turaki, had while reacting to the Shekau’s denial , said he (Shekau) got it all wrong.
He said the committee held discussions with Mohammed Marwana and not Abdulazeez as was alleged by Shekau in his recent video.
The minister said, “The person referred to was Abdulazeez; I don’t know him (Abdulazeez) and our committee is certainly not talking to Abdulazeez please. The person we are talking to is Mohammed Marwana.”