18 April 2013

Nigeria: Why Datti Ahmad Rejected Boko Haram Committee Appointment

Photo: Dailytrust
Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmad, President-General of the Supreme Council for Shari’a in Nigeria (SCSN)

The cleric said he turned down the offer because the Federal Government had been insincere in their dealings with him in the past.

The head of the Supreme council for Sharia in Nigeria, Datti Ahmad, has turned down his appointment into a 26-member committee announced by the Federal Government on Wednesday to dialogue with members of the Boko Haram sect with a view to granting them amnesty in turn for disarmament.

Speaking to the Hausa service of the BBC on Thursday, Mr. Ahmad said he turned down the appointment because of his past experience in dealing with the government on the issue of Book Haram.

The cleric had been approached by the federal government after the insurgent group agreed to have him as a mediator. He, however pulled out during the mediation process.

"Firstly, I declined my appointment because on the two occasions we tried to risk everything and intervene with a view to ending the insurgency, the federal government wasn't sincere. When approached (Boko Haram), they gave two conditions upon which successful dialogue will take place," he said.

The conditions, Mr. Ahmad said, were that the federal government should release all their wives and children in detention, while the second one was for the government to put a stop to the gross abuse of human rights in Borno and Yobe States.

Mr. Ahmad said the government agreed to these demands but later reneged.

He said that he only saw his appointment into the committee on the pages of newspapers. The Islamic cleric added that he is sure the government is also not sincere this time, going by the leadership of the 26 man committee.

"The chairman is a serving minister, while the secretary is also a civil servant, so they may end up lying in the report because they will feel obligated to tell the government what it wants to hear," he said.

Mr. Ahmad's refusal of the appointment follows that of Kaduna-based activist, Shehu Sani.

Mr. Sani had after the government made the announcement on Wednesday rejected the appointment; saying he had written and spoken extensively about how to solve the crisis and that government only need to refer to his earlier opinion on the matter.

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