Minister of Special Duties and the chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolutions of Security Challenges in the North, Alhaji Kabiru Turaki, yesterday engaged reporters in hot exchanges on whether the committee has made contact with Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau.
Turaki parried questions on Shekau after he had earlier said at a meeting with the diplomatic community that the committee is currently “critically dialoguing” with the leadership of the sect. He said while briefing the diplomats at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Abuja that with the way the dialogue with the sect was going, a ceasefire is likely to be reached within the two months extension granted the committee. Turaki later became evasive and visibly angered when journalists, after the meeting, sought to know if the committee is really discussing with Shekau who has been identified as leader of the sect. He responded thus: “I have responded to it severally. We can’t go on and be speaking on the same issue everyday now. Much as I want to be speaking with press, you yourselves must be mature in the way you do things. I speak on something today, I speak on it tomorrow and next tomorrow and you want me to speak on it again. There must be decorum. You as stakeholders, what are you doing as stakeholders to solve the problems?” He lamented that the articles in the media have not encouraged dialogue and that the media has not contributed towards resolving the issues. When asked to explain why attacks have continued despite assurances from the committee that it will soon reach a ceasefire, the minister insisted he would no longer comment. He said, “This is a mute issue now. We have addressed it severally. I don’t want to comment on this issue again. Is there any country in the world where the issue of terrorism has been solved within the establishment of committee? There is none, take even the case of Northern Ireland where the agreement of ceasefire has been written more than two decades ago, is the issue of terrorism not still there?”