Northern elders have said the declaration of a state of emergency and massive troop deployments in three states in the North East is ill-timed and ill-conceived.
They also said the action had effectively ended the proposed amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect.
In separate interviews with our correspondents, in Abuja, on Thursday, Spokesperson of the Northern Elders Forum, Prof. Ango Abdullahi and Dr. Junaid Mohammed described the President’s action as counter-productive.
Abdullahi said, “The states have always been in a state of emergency in the states that were announced the other day.
“The states have always been occupied by soldiers anyway; I think this measure is just a formality. From all indications, those areas that have been announced as coming under the emergency, except Adamawa, Yobe and Borno, have always been practically under the state of emergency.
“Our own interpretation of the crisis and amnesty or reconciliation committee, the surprise here is that the committee has not even been allowed to start serious work before their undermining because you can’t have the two together.
“You can’t have war while you are talking about peace and this is what we have on the ground now. We have this war and dialogue; I don’t know which one will succeed.”
According to him, if allegations that members of the sect have taken over a part of Borno State are true, it is a demonstration of the failure of the state.
He said, “If it is true that this has happened it is the failure of the previous military effort against their activities. It remains to be seen whether the intensification of the military effort will succeed in an area where they failed before.
“It remains to be seen whether this is a good strategy but from all rational analysis, it is ill timed, and ill advised because if the President was thinking of a state of emergency, he would have refrained from agreeing to set up this amnesty or reconciliation committee and concentrate on the war effort.
“To me, the work of the amnesty committee is practically terminated and we will wait for the outcome of the war.”
He explained that, “I cannot see how this will go together when you are more or less pursuing the same people that you want to come forward to discuss with you.”
Abdullahi insisted that there was no military solution to the insurgency as such dialogue remain the best option.
JD:The Northern elders are not in good company here with their argument.they are with the isolated few who believe Jonathan had not exhausted the peaceful option before as it were declaring war.I beg to disagree,indeed I am inclined to believe that the latest onslaught might just fast track the peace protest for now ,the government might be negotiating from a position of strength having hopefully routed the operational base of the insurgents.Lets test this option first and if it doesn’t work,well………