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North kicks against ban on B’Haram, Ansaru


The North on Wednesday disagreed with the National Assembly on the proscription of two Islamic miltant groups – Boko Haram and Ansaru–by President Goodluck Jonathan.

While the North through its two prominent groups, the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Northern Elders Forum, faulted the ban, the National Assembly insisted that it was a welcome development.

To the ACF and the NEF, the Jonathan administration has through the ban thrown a spanner in the works in its efforts to  end   bloodletting in the North  through amnesty for Boko Haram and Ansaru members.

They said they were waiting to see  how the Federal Government would address the  crisis in the North.

 In an interview in Kaduna, the  ACF’s National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, argued that with the ban,   negotiations with Boko Haram would be difficult.

He asked, “Now that they (government) have proscribed the sect, can they now negotiate with a non-existing group?

“Before,  the government told us that  it was  using  a stick and carrot approach; that is, negotiation and state of emergency; now that they  have proscribed it (Boko Haram), how will the negotiation work?

“It is the government that told us that  a stick and carrot approach will work together. Now that they have gone to proscribe  Boko Haram, let us see how they will  apply  the stick and carrot. We pray that they succeed.”

Sani wondered if the government would negotiate with members of the sect individually instead of meeting the group.

He added,  “The government said they  needed the emergency in order to reclaim  the seized  town taken over by Boko Haram. This made  Nigerians, including  us (ACF)  to give them the go-ahead. We supported the state of emergency to reclaim seized part  of the country.

“But now that they have proscribed the sect, we don’t know how they will apply the carrot. Now, how can you negotiate with an   illegal entity? The group has just been proscribed. They have announced it. They are applying the stick now but we don’t know how they will apply the carrot.”

His counterpart in the NEF,  Prof. Ango Abdullahi, said the  proscription contradicted  government’s efforts to negotiate with the sect.

Abdullahi argued  that the proscription of anything should come after the legal existence of such a thing.

He added,   “As far as I can understand,   if there  is an organisation registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission and is operating according to the law before it was registered; and then along the line, the organisation begins to infringe on the laws that created it or even against its laws as registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, you can then go ahead and cancel its registration.

“If its activities are violating the law of the country,  then issues like banning and proscription come into play.

“But in this case, people say they don’t know what this Boko Haram is, they don’t know the members and they are trying to get the members to come out for dialogue .

“If you are looking for dialogue, you have to expect that there will be people who will come out under certain respectable conditions.

“Two   things  have happened simultaneously-  the declaration of a  state of emergency which connotes the declaration of martial law. You cannot expect somebody to come and meet soldiers under emergency conditions and now you have the proscription.”

 Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, said, “The prescription order is a step in the right direction. As a House, we will support every proactive measure taken by the Federal Government to stem the tide of insecurity in the country.

“Whenever the government makes a pronouncement that is good, we will support it as a House.”

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