Mr Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, says the Federal Government is open to negotiation with the Boko Haram sect in order to resolve the lingering insecurity problem in the country.
Speaking in an interview with BBC on Friday, Adesina expressed the determination of the President to address insecurity and restore normalcy to the troubled parts of the country.
“If they are willing, why not? But you know that attempts at negotiations have been made in the past and they didn’t work,” he said. “Every reasonable person would want to see the end of this insurgency, so if they were willing why not? You can’t rule that out.”
Condoling families who lost relations in the latest attacks in Borno State, he said the resurgence of the sect would not discourage the government from tackling insurgency.
“The report came in (Thursday) that the insurgents had attacked some villages and that it was a vicious attack and people were killed in scores. It is very sad,” he said. “Very sad and distressing. Any death, even if it is just one soul that is lost through violence – any untimely death – is condemnable; it is sad. “So, we sympathise with the families of those who have lost their relations; but then rather than this breaking the resolve of the government to end this insurgency, it would strengthen it.”
Adesina disagreed that relocation of the military Command and Control Centre to the North-east, as directed by President Muhammadu Buhari, has not yielded result. He added that insurgency remains a priority of the government and that the President has proved this by visiting neighbouring countries for consultation within his first two weeks in office.
“I would not agree with you that that the strategy of moving the military command centre to the north-east is not working,” he said. “It’s premature to come to that conclusion. This is going to work because it’s a framework being put in place, the machinery is in motion and when it takes off, I believe it’s going to work.
“It remains a priority to him. His first two weeks in office were actually dedicated to tackling insurgency. He visited Chad, he visited Niger and the following week, the president of those countries also visited him in Abuja.
“The president of Benin Republic joined them and the defence minister of Cameroon also came to Abuja and a machinery is being put in place and when that is concluded and the multi-national joint task force moves, I believe that it is going to be a massive blow to insurgency and we will see an end to all these.”