The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described as a condemnable escalation of the Boko Haram crisis the reported killing of a journalist with NTA Maiduguri, Zakaria Isa, by gunmen said to be members of the sect.
"If it is true, as it had been widely reported, that Boko Haram killed Isa, then it is a clear indication that things are really getting out of hand as far as this Boko Haram crisis is concerned," the party said in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
"Again, we call on the federal government to shake off its lethargy and act fast to find a solution to the crisis. With the government seemingly clueless as to how to tackle the crisis, we will like to reiterate our earlier call for the convening of a stakeholders' conference to help find a solution," it said.
The party also repeated its earlier statement that the use of force cannot end the Boko Haram crisis, saying there must be an engagement of sorts and it must happen as soon as possible to prevent more innocent lives been lost to gun attacks and bombings.
ACN said while the details of Isa's reported killings are still sketchy, the party is gravely worried that the journalist may have been targeted purely because of his professional duties.
"We are particularly concerned because a spokesman for Boko Haram, Abu Kaka, was quoted in a newspaper as warning last month that the sect would attack journalists if they continue to 'misrepresent' it," the party said.
"We wonder what the sect considers a 'misrepresentation', and hope Isa's killing is not a manifestation of the sect's threat."
It urged Boko Haram to put an immediate end to the senseless attacks on innocent citizens and find a non-violent way to channel its grievances, whatever they may be.