**”the Niger Delta militants never killed innocent civilians nor did they bomb churches. What is Boko Haram fighting for?
The Northern Elders Forum has described the act of offering cash rewards for the apprehension of Boko Haram‘s leaders by government as an act of insincerity on the part of government.
The forum insists that rather than focus on trying to apprehend the leaders of Boko Haram the government should treat them like it treated the Niger Delta militants and rehabilitate them.
Spokesman for the Northern Elders Forum, Dr. Paul Unongu said ?The militants were rehabilitated and compensated with huge sums of money; some of them were given big contracts. If it was possible for the militants in the Niger Delta, which is Jonathan?s part of the country, why would it not be possible for Boko Haram in the North??
Continuing further he said “on the surface, placing a bounty on the heads of the leaders of Boko Haram shows that the FG has dropped negotiation.?
He said it was the duty of the government to negotiate with Boko Haram saying further ?When we (NEF) met the President, we suggested the carrot-and-stick approach to him and he accepted it. However, what is reprehensible is the excessive application of the stick. What Nigerians want to see is the end of the violence and loss of innocent lives.
?If Jonathan applies himself to it, he would identify people he can talk to and they would relate his message to Boko Haram. He has to create the atmosphere for that negotiation to happen.?
Another Northern elder, Dr. Bulama Gubio, said “Since the President has said there is no negotiation going on between the Federal Government and Boko Haram, what else can we say? All we can do is to continue to appeal to both sides to negotiate in the interest of the people.
?Our people are dying every day and our economy is paralysed. Borno State is still part of Nigeria, so the Federal Government should swallow its pride and go the extra mile to make sure the negotiation works. I don?t think Federal Government can solve the problem without negotiation.?
When the Northern Elders position was put to him a prominent pundit from the Niger Delta said “the Niger Delta militants never killed innocent civilians nor did they bomb churches. They were fighting for the economic rights which was a legitimate cause.
What are Boko Haram fighting for? Is it not to impose their religion on others? What are Huey contributing to the economy that the are being deprived of?
The Niger Delta was contributing the mainstay of the economy yet they were not getting much hence their fight. The Niger Delta was compensated with their own money.
If the Northern Elders want Boko Haram compensated then they should compensate them with money derived from their own region.”
– Naija pundit.