14th July, 2011
Some religious leaders in Lagos on Wednesday expressed divergent views on how best to resolve the Boko Haram issue.
The clerics, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews, were reacting to a call by the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) which urged the government to dialogue with Boko Haram.
They, however, agreed that a solution should be quickly found to the crisis to save Nigeria from further bloodbath.
Monsignor Gabriel Osu, Director of Communication, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, said the best way to bring the crisis to an end was through dialogue.
â€œAny positive way or dialogue that can bring peace, understanding and respect should be encouraged. It is better to â€œjaw-jaw than to war-war,â€ Osu said.
Osu said it was only through dialogue that the government would know the demands of the Boko Haram sect and determine if they could be met.
â€œThe situation now is war and it is an ill-wind that blows nobody any good. I believe the ACF advice is in the right direction. â€œUntil the government dialogue with them, they will not know the solution,â€ he said.
Alhaji Kamaldeen Akintunde, Secretary General, National Council of Muslim Youths (NACOMYO) ,said dialogue should first be initiated by government in order to understand the sectâ€™s grievances.
â€œWhat are their grievances, what can the government do. These can only be answered through dialogue,â€ Akintunde told NAN.
However, Pastor Tunde Adebayo of the Cherubim and Seraphim Movement Church, (Ayo Ni O) Surulere, said there was no basis for dialogue with the sect.
He said that Boko Haramâ€™s agitation was quite different from the demands of militants in the Niger Delta.
â€œOn what basis should the government want to negotiate with the sect? Boko-Haram members are against Western education. Their struggle is more of an emotional issue,â€ Adebayo said.
The cleric urged the government to beef up security nationwide to discourage other small groups from emerging and disturbing the nationâ€™s peace.