The Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North and the Joint Task Force may clash over the ceasefire declared by the militant Islamic group, Boko Haram.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that in spite of the ceasefire, the Joint Task Force would continue its crackdown on terrorists in the North-East.
The military authorities were said to have expressed ill-feelings that they were not informed before the ceasefire agreement was reached.
A top security source, who confided in Saturday PUNCH, said, “We have not been informed about the ceasefire. The JTF will continue to arrest suspected terrorists.
“We will continue our crackdown on the terrorists until we are sufficiently convinced that they have laid down their arms and denounced terrorism.
“As far as we are concerned, we are not aware of that ceasefire they are talking about, and we are not reckoning with it.”
But a source in the committee called the bluff of the military authorities over the claim that they were not aware of the ceasefire agreement.
The source told Saturday PUNCH that as long as the committee was inaugurated by the Federal Government, the issue of taking another person into consideration did not arise.
A member of the committee informed one of our correspondents that the claim by the military authorities was not the best.
The source said, “I don’t want a situation in which it will appear as if there is crisis from the government side. Mr. President has been carried along; so, if anybody is claiming that they are not aware, it is not our problem.
“We are not working under the Minister of Defence or Chief of Defence Staff. We are a presidential committee and we talk with the President and we have done our duty.”
The Chairman of the committee, Alhaji Taminu Turaki (SAN), had on Monday said that the committee had reached an understanding with Boko Haram.
He said the group had reached a ceasefire understanding, which he noted, would be followed by a formal signing of an agreement.
He had said, “It is not an agreement; we have reached an understanding with the leadership of Boko Haram arising from weeks of discussion and interface that we have been having with them.
“We will now move to the issue of parameters for an agreement and then when we are able to agree on the terms, the signing will be done openly and all members of the press will be invited.
“But for now, they have agreed in principle that they have declared a ceasefire, which we commended as it will facilitate the solving of the problem.”
But the Defence Headquarters’ spokesman, Chris Olukolade, had in an interview with a national newspaper (not The PUNCH) on Tuesday, said the military had not been informed about the ceasefire.
Efforts to get Olukolade on the latest development did not succeed. He couldn’t be reached for his reaction, as calls placed to his mobile telephone line indicated that it was in an area outside of network coverage.
Meanwhile, Turaki has said that the extension of amnesty to the recently imprisoned members of the Boko Haram sect would be determined after concretising the understanding and agreement on ceasefire.
He stated this in an interview with Saturday PUNCH on Thursday.
Four members of the group were jailed by a court in Abuja on Tuesday.
Turaki said contrary to insinuations, there was nothing like amnesty programme between the government and Boko Haram.