Monday, November 12, 2012

‘Saudi Arabia not conducive for FG, Boko Haram talks’

Dr. Frederick Fasehun

Founder and President, Oodua People’s Congress, Dr. Frederick Fasehun, says Saudi Arabia is not  a conducive venue for any dialogue between the Federal Government and the insurgent group, Boko Haram.
Fasehun said any dialogue between the government and the sect should hold within Nigeria.
The OPC leader made this known at a press conference in Lagos on Friday.

Fasehun said, “Saudi Arabia as host for talks on a purely Nigerian affair is fraught with danger.
“Therefore, Mecca will not be the ideal place for the negotiation of the security of a secular state like Nigeria and the OPC urges the government to change the venue.”

He said Boko Haram should drop former Head of State, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) from its list of negotiators, except if the former military leader had confirmed his membership of the group.
Fasehun said since Boko Haram remained faceless, government should not discuss with the group until its leaders were unveiled and known.

He said, “Much of Boko Haram’s hostility has been turned against Christians. Therefore, Christians, through the Christian Association of Nigeria, must be represented at the talks.
“Negotiations should be opened up to accommodate other ethnic interests in the conflict such as Ohaneze Ndigbo, Afenifere, Middle Belt Forum, Egbesu, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta and other nationality groups, whose indigenes have been wantonly slaughtered by Boko Haram.”
Fasehun said professional bodies like the Nigerian Bar Association, Nigerian Union of Journalists should also be appointed as mediators.

He, however, canvassed that government should guarantee the safety of Boko Haram’s representatives instead of seeing it as an opportunity for security agents to hound and arrest their leaders.
Fasehun said the conditions spelt out by the sect for dialogue had the potential of becoming a stumbling block to the positive outcome of the talks.

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