Former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar
By Matthew Onah
Former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar has advised the Federal Government to urgently open channels of dialogue with the Boko Haram sect and other aggrieved groups in the country, saying this is the only way out of the current insecurity quagmire in which the country has found itself.
Atiku, who spoke at the newly-inaugurated American University of Nigeria (AUN) Hotel in Yola, the Adamawa State capital, on Friday stated that the only way out of the present situation was to dialogue with the aggrieved segment of the society to resolve the challenges.
His intervention came on the heels of the resolve of the Northern leaders to tackle the Boko haram crisis. The Northern governors had on Wednesday set up a 41-man peace committee to resolve the problem.
Attributing the current security challenges in some parts of the country, especially the North, to bad governance, the former vice-president said: “For a long time, the country has been subjected to bad governance with rising unemployment accentuated with rising poverty and population explosion. And there has not been a deliberate and conscious attempt to address these issues.”
According to Atiku: “What we are witnessing today are all manifestations of bad governance in the past”.
He stated that all the national and international leaders approached on the issue and on the way out of the incessant insecurity in the land had harped on the need for the present government to embrace dialogue.
Abubakar said another way out of the present situation, apart from engaging the groups in dialogue, is for the current administration to inaugurate programmes that would address issues of injustice, poverty and other social malaise in the country.
“Unless we can get a government that is prepared to first of all dialogue with these groups and secondly launch programmes that would address these issues that have been highlighted, there is no way we can resolve these security challenges,’’ he stated.
The Boko Haram sect has been responsible for the spate of bombings and killings, which had ravaged the North in the last two years.
Following a statement credited to the sect through Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service that it was ready to dialogue with government, the Federal Government had said it welcomed the move by the group to engage in discussion with it.
The group, however, later denied it was in discussion with the government.
President Goodluck Jonathan has always asked the sect to come forward and present its grievances on the table for the government to dialogue with it.