Chairman of the Senate Committee on Land, Housing and Urban Development, Senator Bukar Ibrahim, yesterday said the Federal Government’s refusal to dialogue with the Boko Haram sect had shown that it was not ready to solve the security challenge confronting the country.
Ibrahim, who made the disclosure at an interactive session with National Assembly correspondents, said: “To me dialogue is not the only solution, but it remains the best solution and I think that is probably where the man of God got me wrong.”
According to him, “I am not saying that is the only solution of solving this problem, there are many ways of solving the problem if the Federal Government is totally committed and I am not sure if they are totally committed to getting peace, but if they are, I still believe dialogue remains the best solution.”
He described as most unfortunate the statement credited to the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, that government should not dialogue with the sect.
Ibrahim said: “This morning, I read in one of the newspapers, Oritsejafor’s statement condemning me for saying that there should be dialogue. I am surprised that this man of God wants us to be killing ourselves, rather than dialoguing and getting peace, he probably was not directly hit, I was directly hit, quite a lot of my family members have been killed, my cars have been burnt, my wife’s school has been burnt in Damaturu, Yobe State. I have been a direct victim of the Boko Haram insurgence, he is not, he is just flying his newly acquired jet, nobody can get near him and so whatever he says is not surprising.”
While arguing that the sect were not a faceless group as speculated, Ibrahim said: “After all, they have named five of us as observers and they want the Federal Government to produce a team, they have given their names they will sit down and then we will watch as observers so that is a good way to begin the whole thing after all they say the dialogue will be done in Saudi Arabia. “Let the Saudi authorities contact them as they must have some contact with them through the Saudi Arabian government.”
Ibrahim also averred that there were burning issues government needed to attend to especially in the North-eastern part of the country.
“I have been talking about the marginalisation, the criminal neglect of the North-east geo-political zone recently. I have facts and figures and have given reasons for my belief and that is why I keep talking about those things. The North-east zone remains the largest political zone and it is the most neglected of all the six geo-political zones, of course I know that at one stage or the other, all zones have complained about marginalisation,” he said.
On the Petroleum Industry Bill, he said: “In whatever form it is going to passed, I hope it will be passed so that there will be reform in the petroleum industry – the most corrupt industry in Nigeria and probably the most corrupt institution in the whole world as of today. We must put a stop to this corruption. We can’t go on just talking about them. We have to go a step forward to try to solve the problems.”
the South-east complained so bitterly, it eventually got a civil war, they have to resolved the issue in a round table, South-south militants rose against the state, so many lives were lost and was eventually solved by declaring amnesty for them, today it is South-south is the bride of Nigeria and they get the best of everything in this country.
The North-east today is where it is for the reasons I have just given. The poverty there is unbelievable. It is incredible,” he said.
He, however, exonerated President Goodluck Jonathan and late President Umaru Yar’Adua, as the cause of the problems, adding: “What happened had happened and there is need to consciously try to solve these problems there.”