Kaduna — President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday revealed the federal government's willingness to negotiate with members of the Boko Haram sect, but said they were yet to respond to government's offer for dialogue.
The president made the remarks at a seminar on the imperatives of observing human rights and international humanitarian laws in internal security operations held in Abuja. The seminar with the theme: 'Engendering greater understanding of legal underpinnings of internal security operations', was organized by the Attorney General of the Federation and the National Security Adviser. Jonathan said the federal government had adopted multifaceted approaches in tackling insurgency including the establishment of a committee on peace and dialogue.
"The committee called on the insurgents to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue. While we are waiting for their response, government is determined to discharge its responsibility of protecting lives and property and no effort will be spared," he said.
He asked the security forces to adhere to international principles in dealing with insurgency.
"I am concerned about how the armed forces discharge their duties and I have directed the Chief of Defence Staff that relevant laws must be adhered to. Individuals must act with a high sense of responsibility," he said.
Jonathan said the Boko Haram sect does not adhere to any international norm in their operations. "They are so brutal and remote from modern civilization. They kill at will," he said.
National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, said the armed forces were deployed to tackle internal security challenges in 32 states of the federation and efforts were being made to ensure that they comply with international standards. Though the forces were trained to respect human rights in their operations, frequent sensitization will make them to comply, he said. He said any security personnel found guilty of violating laws would have himself to blame.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation Bello Adoke said the essence of the seminar was to ensure that the effort in tackling security challenges not only conform to law but adhere with international principles. He said the actions of security forces in some instances had attracted heavy losses for government.
"The court directed the government to pay N40 billion as compensation to victims of Zakibiam which was later reviewed to N8 billion. The killing of Mohammed Yusuf still reverberates despite the N100 million government was ordered to pay the family," he said. He added that about 40 court convictions were secured on Boko Haram cases from May 2013 to date.