Plan to negotiate with Boko Haram laudable – Ex-General

A former Chairman of Nigerian chapter of the Transparency International, Maj.-Gen. Ishola Williams (retd), has backed President Muhammadu Buhari on his resolve to negotiate with genuine leaders of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Williams said it was the right thing to do in view of the state of insurgency in the country.

The President, during a recent four-day official visit to the US, told the Cable News Network that his government was ready to dialogue with the terror group, if the talks would lead to the release of the schoolgirls kidnapped over a year ago in Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State by the terror group.

Buhari, however, noted that caution must be the guiding light in order to hold talks with the right group.

In a telephone interview with our correspondent, Williams urged the President and his team to gather a lot of intelligence in order to dialogue with credible leaders of the sect.

He said, ‘‘It (negotiation) is the proper thing to do but there is the need for a lot of intelligence work to be able to identify who the genuine leaders of Boko Haram are. Nobody knows them.

“We heard that the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, was killed but we do not know who replaces him. The sect denied that he was not killed.

“There is a need to collaborate with international agencies to hold proper negotiation before the negotiation. I support negotiation with credible members of the sect if they are identified.”

The retired general added that the negotiation was necessary considering the lives of the young schoolgirls involved in the matter.

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