Jos — The new National Security Adviser (NSA) retired Col. Sambo Dasuki assured yesterday that he will soon meet with Boko Haram leaders for possible dialogue with the group, saying he already had their contacts.
Dasuki, who spoke in Jos during a meeting with stakeholders in Plateau, said he was planning to meet with the group on the need for it to cease fire and embrace dialogue as soon as possible.
"I was in Yobe and Borno States last week and I have got the telephone numbers and contacts of key Boko Haram members and I will meet with them. I saw the dangerous effect of Boko Haram in these states and what I saw was pathetic. But I have the mandate to put heads together with religious and traditional leaders as well as the state governments to ensure an immediate ceasefire," Dasuki said.
According to him, he was in Plateau State for on-the-spot assessment of the security challenge and in furtherance of the Federal Government's peace efforts, particularly across the northern part of the country.
He expressed confidence that the people of Plateau could put their problems behind them and forge ahead with genuine peace and reconciliation.
"I have a stake in Plateau because I lived in Pankshin and Jos when my father resided here. So if we lived peacefully way back then, it is possible to go back to those good old days.
"Before now, it was difficult for me to believe that you could see a Fulani and Berom man together on the street of Plateau fighting. But the presence of various ethnic and religious groups at this parley is a pointer to the fact that we want to forge ahead."
The Security Adviser also promised to work with state governors in finding solutions to the security problems in the country. He said that he believed working with governors who know the peculiar security situations of their states would achieve better results than working with individuals.
"They (governors) are the chief security officers of their respective states. Our job is to complement. If there is peace, there would be less burden in Abuja. We will not work with individuals but the governors", Dasuki who spoke at a meeting with various interest groups at the Government House, Rayfield, Jos, said.
He solicited cooperation of various stakeholders for the success of his assignment and appealed to the people to put aside past anomalies and work together towards attaining peace in the state and the country at large. He promised to look into allegations of the involvement of some security personnel in crises in the states but noted that keeping a soldier away from his base beyond six months could be frustrating.
After listening to various stakeholders, he promised to discuss with the Presidency on lifting the state of emergency declared in four local government areas of the state.
In his remarks, Gov. Jonah Jang regretted that the emergency rule in the state had not achieved the intended effect as the attacks on the affected local government areas had continued unabated.
On dialogue with Boko Haram, Jang said that it was difficult to dialogue with the group since its leaders and members were not known.
He therefore urged the group to come out and identify itself. "We only hear that Boko Haram claims responsibility for this and that attack but we never heard anybody coming out to say he is Boko Haram. We know the Niger Delta militants had leaders and a cause they were fighting for which made late President Yar'Adua to succeed with the amnesty programme but, who is Boko Haram?"
Jang alleged that some influential people were behind the sect in view of the sophistication of its operations and insisted that the sponsors must be dealt with by the appropriate authority.
In his remarks, a member of the House of Representatives, Bitrus Kaze, alleged insincerity and lack of will on the part of the government to implement various reports on Jos crises.
"In the last 10 years, no single person has been convicted for the crisis on the Plateau.
"So what you have is a situation whereby the assailants have become hardened and continued to carry on with the attacks with impunity. "
The parley had in attendance, traditional, religious and community leaders, heads of security services, women, youth groups, and government functionaries, among others.