The Federal Government will continue with the process of dialoguing with members of the Boko Haram sect with a view to achieving peace and stability in the North despite the declaration of a state of emergency in three northern states, the Presidency said on Friday.
Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, made the clarification while responding to a call by the leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, to jettison the idea of granting pardon to the Boko Haram sect because of the magnitude of destruction carried out by the deadly group.
Past and current leadership of NANS, led by its President, Comrade Yinka Gbadebo, who were in Abuja to confer its Meritorious Life Membership Award on Kuku, a former national mobilisation officer of the body, had criticised President Jonathan for planning to give amnesty to BH, describing the sect as evil and destructive.
But Kuku explained that Jonathan had not committed any infraction by trying to use the Carrot-and-Stick approach to bring about peace in the northern part of Nigeria.
Kuku said, “No price is too much for the present administration of President Goodluck Jonathan to pay in its bid to achieve peace and progress in Nigeria, just as was done by the government in the Niger Delta, when militancy was cutting down oil production seriously.
“I will therefore appeal to you all to support Mr. President to ensure the success of the current effort to fish out those who are trying to destroy Nigeria so as to ensure that Nigeria remains as one and continues to deliver service to all Nigerians.
“Indeed I want NANS to understand why the President has retained all democratic structures in the three states where state of emergency has been declared in the north and to cooperate with the administration in its effort to separate genuine agitation for the provision of basic needs from those who deliberately want to destroy Nigeria for reasons best known to them and their collaborators,” Kuku said.
NANS President, Comrade Yinka Gbadebo, had praised Kuku for the steps so far taken to stem the tide of militancy in the Niger Delta and appealed to him to tell the Presidency to always involve the association in major policies and programmes, especially in the education sector.
Gbadebo decried the setting up of many committees to manage the SURE-P, YOU-WIN and Centenary celebration programmes without the inclusion of NANS in any of them.
The NANS leader also called on the government to tackle rising unemployment in the country so as to take the youths off the streets and reduce tension in the country.