Former President Goodluck Jonathan has told an association of international diplomats at the Geneva-based Cercle Diplomatique, that his administration never negotiated with Boko Haram or duped by the terrorist organisation, according to a Breaking Times report.
According to the former President, “We did not negotiate with Boko Haram… my government never set up a team to negotiate with Boko Haram.”
He explained that what his government did was to study the critical situation in the North-East, where it found that the rate of school dropouts was on the increase, thus necessitating the establishment of a committee to discuss the matter.
“We then felt that there might be local issues involved in the matter. What we then did was to set up a committee of senior people in the states to hold conversations with all stakeholders, including community leaders, religious leaders and all other interest groups. Their mandate was to hold conversations with these groups towards finding a local solution to the problem,” he stated.
“There was never a time we negotiated with Boko Haram,” he insisted.
When confronted with the fact that there were reports indicating that not only were there talks with the belligerent group at the behest of the former President, there was an assurance that a ceasefire agreement with them was to be achieved, the former president replied, “For a negotiation to take place, there should be certain expectations from both sides. We just couldn’t negotiate with the terrorists because such expectations could not be established. Anybody who says that we negotiated with Boko Haram during my time is merely playing politics.”