The spiritual leader of the Islamist militant sect, Jama’atu Ahlul Sunnah Lidda’awati wal Jihad – popularly known as Boko Haram – Abubakar Shekau, has denied entering into any ceasefire deal with the Federal Government.
This denial contradicts last week Monday’s claim by Minister of Special Duties, who is also the Chairman of the Presidential Committee on the Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts in Northern Nigeria, Kabiru Turaki to the effect that the committee has secured a ceasefire deal with the sect.
But the committee yesterday insisted that the denial of a ceasefire by Shekau was a defence mechanism by him to show that he still has the muscle to battle the Federal Government. A source close to the committee told THISDAY under the condition of anonymity that Shekau said what he said because he knew that even if the ceasefire comes to fruition, he still has questions to answer regarding his heinous role in the whole saga that has claimed many lives so far.
“Shekau is afraid of what may happen to him,” the source added. “That is why he is making the statements he is making. As for his lieutenants, the likes of Sheikh Abdulazeez, they know the score and have acknowledged that there is no two ways to genuine peace.”
Turaki had, in a Hausa service programme of Radio France International announced that the Federal Government has secured a ceasefire deal with the sect, which has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attacks that has led to the loss of thousands of lives. His announcement was corroborated by the Presidency’s statement that the alleged deal had Shekau’s consent and would soon be publicly formalised.
“We have spoken with somebody who is second in command as far as Boko Haram is concerned and he has informed the media that he has been discussing with us with full knowledge and authority of Imam Abubakar Shekau, so we have no cause to doubt him,” Turaki had said.
But the sect’s leader, Shekau in a new video obtained by the AFP has debunked the ceasefire claims. “Let me assure you that we will not enter into any truce with these infidels,” he said. “We will not enter into any truce with the Nigerian government.”
He was also quoted to have said: “The claim that we have entered into a truce with the government of Nigeria is not true. We don’t know Kabiru Turaki. We have never spoken with him. He is lying.”