There may be hope around the corner for the release of the over 200 girls abducted from Government Secondary School, Chibok Borno State, as there are reports of preliminary talks between the Presidency and some leaders of Boko Haram, The Nation reports.
According to the report, the new deal is being brokered by some confidants of the Presidency and the sect, with indications that some key commanders of Boko Haram in detention are also eager to be part of the initiative.
The new posturing, according to the report, came amid security reports that about 500 insurgents in a neighboring country are interested in renouncing terrorism – in line with the reconciliatory agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari, though the President is said to be cautious in rushing at the new offer from some leaders of the sect to avoid what a source described as the “costly mistakes of the past administration of ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan.
The report also claim that President Buhari has asked security agents to “screen or certify” those spearheading the new negotiation to ensure that the government is dealing with the right Boko Haram leaders.
It is believed that some Boko Haram leaders have been overwhelmed by the President‘s olive branch.
According to the report, the President’s reconciliatory agenda made some confidants of the sect to initiate a fresh negotiation between the Presidency and some Boko Haram leaders, adding that at the preliminary level, a “cautious understanding” has been struck by both parties.
These include likely release of some Chibok girls to underscore the readiness of Boko Haram for negotiation; involvement of some Boko Haram leaders, on whom the United States Government placed ransom, in the peace deal; and commitment of the Buhari administration to the negotiation.
A source, quoted by the report, said: “The President’s appeal for peace in the Northeast is yielding dividends because a fresh facilitation of talks between the Presidency and Boko Haram has started.
“This latest negotiation, which is at the preliminary stage, is being promoted by some mutual confidants of the Presidency and Boko Haram.
“The new deal may lead to the release of some Chibok girls to set the tone for a comprehensive negotiation by both sides.
“The President is extremely cautious on this offer of negotiation.
“Buhari has ordered security agencies to screen or certify those Boko Haram commanders interested in facilitating this latest negotiation to ensure that they are bonafide leaders of the sect.
“The position of the President is that why he is not averse to a peace deal, the Federal Government must avoid the costly mistakes of the past which led to a waste of time and huge resources.
“The President wants the release of the Chibok girls and quick restoration of peace to the Northeast; he is ready to negotiate with the right people for sustainable results.”
However, it believed that the leader of the sect, Imam Abubakar Shekau, is yet to be involved in the new deal.
“I think we are still at the preliminary stage. At the right time, there is a way the negotiation offer will be forwarded to their leader.
“But the fact that some Boko Haram commanders, whom US placed ransom upon, might be part of the negotiation shows that the crisis can be resolved, if all hands are on deck, “ another source added.