Datti Ahmed rejects Boko Haram panel membership….The Nation

Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria (SCSN) President Datti Ahmed yesterday declined to serve on the 26-member committee to dialogue with Boko Haram.

Activist Shehu Sani turned down his membership on Wednesday.

Dr. Ahmed said the bitter experience he had with the Federal Government in trying to broker peace with members of the sect informed his decision to opt out of the Presidential Committee on North’s Security.

He told the Hausa Service of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) monitored in Kaduna that the government should be held responsible for the breakdown of earlier peace talks.

He attributed the collapse of the talks, which he initiated with the insurgents, to what he described as the government’s insincerity.

While faulting the composition of the presidential panel, Ahmed alleged that the chairman of the Amnesty Committee, who is a minister and the secretary, another government official, would not give correct information.

He said: “Previously, I made such moves twice and it wasn’t the government that asked me to do that and we reached a stage where, if the government had agreed with what we got, what we resolved with the sect members, by now we would have forgotten everything. Nigeria would have witnessed peace by now.

“We told the government everything we discussed with them (sect) and the agreement we had which were not difficult. If the dialogue was truly genuine, their wives and children that were unjustly detained should have been released because they’ve not committed any crime.

“We advised the government on that; we said even if you continue to detain them, there was no gain in doing so; the government said they would release them, but did not.

“That act showed there was deceit on the part of the government. We also said that if these people were released, a place should be arranged where we would sit and discuss matters.

“Secondly, this committee, the chairman is a government minister and the secretary too works for the government. So, whatever we discuss, they are the ones who will write and take to the government. So, I believe if this meeting is done, what they will write will be full of lies.

“They will feed the government with what the government wants to know and we would be in trouble with the ordinary Nigerians. The minister and secretary will take lies to the government and we would be left quarrelling with young Nigerians, young enough to be our children.”

The Islamic scholar said his previous experience showed insincerity on the part of the government.

He said: It was so successful but the government caused everything to crumble. It was just like we were going to have a peaceful resolution the next day and what the government should have done was not something difficult – just to release their wives and reduce the tension in Yobe and Borno states and stop persecuting the people there .

“The government said it was going to do that but it did not. It is the same government, the same Jonathan and his representative and we are the same people; nothing has changed.”

JD:Again this shows the tardiness of government in handling not only security  issues but day to day issues of governance.There is no doubt that the  government needs a complete overhaul. President Jonathan had made the mistake in appointing political colleagues and business partners into positions that require the expertise of technocrats.To survive up to 2015,he needs to do just that.