THE Boko Haram Islamic sect which has been terrorising some states in the North, particularly Borno, has on Monday agreed to a ceasefire or lay down their arms for peace to prevail.
The agreement was reached after a group suspected to be members of the sect claimed to have held a closed door meeting with the Borno State governor, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, other top government officials and religious leaders from the state.
Briefing journalists after their marathon meeting, the acclaimed commander-in-charge of North and Central Borno, Sheikh Abu Mohammad Abdulazeez Ibn Idris, said after due consultation with the leader of the sect, Shiekh Abubakar Shekau, as well as intervention and pleading from respected individuals and groups in the state, they have all come to terms and agreed to lay down their arms, but insisted that, government should immediately release all their members from custody unconditionally, rebuild their places of worship, and compensate them, among other demands.
Sheikh Abdulazeez said the sect observed that during the lingering insurgency, a lot of muslim women and children have suffered, adding that, they have decided to lay down their arms for peace to reign in Borno and the country at large.
He, however, said: “Henceforth, I am appealing and calling on all our members through this medium to lay down their arms till further notice,” Abdulazeez stated.
On the wanton killings, especially the slaughtering of eight people in Gajigana town of Magumeri council of Borno State on Sunday and burning of public buildings, he totally dissociated Boko Haram sect from the act, insisting that those atrocities were committed by criminals hiding under the guise of Boko Haram.
Meanwhile, the Adviser on Media and Communication to Governor Shettima, while responding said, “Well, I am just hearing from you, but you will agree with me that the issue is that of national security, I am not competent to speak on national security issues. We have a security council in Borno State, I am not a member of that council and of course, you will also agree with me that no governor will speak on such critical security issues, so I cannot speak on the matter. But what I know, which you can also confirm as journalists that have been following the activities of the governor is that from the day he became a governor-elect, even before he was sworn in, he was first to speak on the need for dialogue as the best way out.
“Governor Shettima has been very firm and consistent in his belief as he has regularly advocated, that unless we want to engage in an endless war, the best way out of the crisis is dialogue towards a peaceful resolution. I can confirm to you that Governor Shettima has consistently been exploring different ways to establish means of negotiation for a fruitful dialogue to end the challenges.
“Anytime someone is killed, be it a civilian, a security personnel or any member of the sect, Governor Shettima is deeply pained, he hates to hear that someone loses his or her life, no matter who that person is. He believes that the life every Nigerian is worth preserving. It is the hope and prayers of Governor Shettima that not just peace but indeed sustainable peace, is reclaimed in Borno and the rest of Nigeria in the quickest time because he knows like he says, that no society can thrive without peace.”
8 slaughtered Sunday night
Meanwhile, eight people were again slaughtered in the early hours of Sunday at Gajiganna town in Magumeri local government area of Borno State, about 45 kilometres from Maiduguri.
Nigerian Tribune gathered that tears and wailing have continued to trail many families and sympathisers at Gajiganna following the murder.
Confirming the incident in a text massage, spokesman of the Joint Task Force on Operation Restore Order in Borno, Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa said Gajiganna, a community in Magumeri Local Government Area of Borno State was attacked by unknown gunmen at about 3.00 a.m. on Monday.
According to Lieutenant-Colonel Sagir Musa, information revealed that lives were lost but that the exact number is yet to be ascertained. He however, promised that further details will be communicated as events unfold.
Speaking, however, with one of the victims’ family members who pleaded anonymous in Maiduguri, Nigerian Tribune gathered that, some people claimed that some unknown persons sounded a note of warning to non-indigenes and Christians living in Gajiganna to leave the area or risk being forced to leave by whatever means.
According to him, “most of our people living there are living in fear since the rumour doing the round that if they did not leave they would be force to leave. Some of our people have left while others were planning to leave before this unfortunate incident. We are citizens of Borno State for God sake, the fact that we are from the other part of the state should not make us an outcast. If other non-indigenes are leaving to their own state, where do we run to?” he asked.