The Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad, popularly called Boko Haram, has asked the federal and Borno State governments to compensate its leadership, members and families of its dead members, as a major condition to sustain the one-week-old ceasefire it announced last Monday.
Saturday it was gathered exclusively that the sect’s demand for monetary compensation, which will cost both the federal and Borno State governments nothing less than N26 billion has already been accepted by the Borno State government, which has been the worst hit by the activities of the sect. The amount, it was gathered, could be more or less depending on the total number of the sect members that have been killed by the security agencies.
According to a highly placed source, “the money being demanded by the sect leaders, they claim they will use it to compensate themselves, their members for all their losses, especially their houses, cars and businesses that have been destroyed by government. They also said they need the money to take care of the families of their members that had been killed by soldiers. So, the figure for now can’t be less that N26 billion, but could be far more depending on the number of the sect members the government agreed its security agencies had killed so far.
According to the source, “the latest ceasefire by the sect is hinged on the same demand that had been made about six months ago when the people in Abuja, led by the new NSA, I mean Dasuki, went into peace talks with the sect leaders. I think the peace process crashed then because the Federal Government was not ready to commit a kobo on the sect members, like it did and still doing for militants in the Niger Delta region. “So, the sect resumed hostilities, which got worse; but in the present case, the Borno government has offered to pay the sect part of the money, encourage other states, like Yobe and the Federal Government to contribute the rest.
The sect had declared, in its ceasefire proposal announced on Monday: “I, Sheikh Muhammed Abdulazeez Ibn Idris, the 2nd Commander in charge of southern and northern Borno after Imam Abubakar Shekau of Jamaatul Ahjlil Sunna lidawati wal Jihad otherwise known as Boko Haram. We hope the government will not betray us this time round, because we all know that it was because of the continued detention of our members that this crisis continued for this long. And if government fails to do as it now promised, then this conflict will never have an end. “Of course, there is a faction within us, but the larger faction of our movement is the one in support of this ceasefire move. Though the sect, in the ceasefire announcement, stated that it had made some demands, which include the release of its members from various security detention centres in parts of the country, it however, kept silent on its demand for monetary compensation.
“The issue of Boko Haram and the Borno State government negotiation is already before Mr. President. So, only him or the NSA, Sambo Dasuki, who has been on top of the issue before now, can talk on record on it because of the sensitive nature of it and the security implication of whatever one says now.” The Special Adviser to the Borno State Governor on Communications, Isa Gusau, when contacted earlier in the week, had said he could not comment on what transpired between the state government and the sect. He, however, added that the state governor has always believed in dialogue as the better solution to the lingering crisis.