The Borno Elders Forum of Retired Military and Civilian Officials have appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria to negotiate the end of the insurgency war she is waging with the Boko Haram Islamist sect in the Borno enclave of the North East zone of Nigeria.

The group in a statement released in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital and published as a paid advertisement in a daily newspaper urged the Nigerian government to extend the same courtesy she gave when she negotiated with the Niger Delta militants to end the impasse in the region to the North East and open negotiation with the dreaded Boko Haram militants so that the needless killings could stop.

The Borno leaders stated that for the past 8 years the Federal Government of Nigeria has been applying force and combative posture to the Boko Haram rebellion. However, despite this, there are still insecurity, wanton killings of people and destruction of properties in the Borno area of the North East. The elders, therefore, reasoned, that it is the time the Government should consider the option of Negotiation for peace to be achieved.

Chibok Girls Kidnapped by Boko Haram

The group also made reference to the use of negotiation with the Boko Haram sect to secure the release of over (100) One hundred kidnapped Chibok girls by the Nigerian government. This they argued adds credence to the fact that negotiation is a better alternative to peace than war.

The Borno elders’ part statement from a paid newspaper advertisement read “if our leaders or government had the leeway to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of some of their captives, they should employ the same tactics to negotiate for the end of the insurgency. The Nigerian government had negotiated with the Niger Delta Militants and succeeded, let the government do the same with the Boko Haram militants”.

The Borno leaders also had strong words for the militants as according to them “it is the time for the Boko Haram militants put down their arms. They should repent and rejoin the larger society. They are not achieving anything in this needless fighting rather they are killing our people and destroying our towns and villages”.

Boko Haram Leader Shekau

However, security and political analysts are of the view that the Borno elders may be fronting the dreaded group and seeking a soft landing for its members in anticipation of a final defeat. They reasoned that the heavy losses on personnel, territories, revenue, and sources of food of the Boko Haram sect is forcing many of their ardent members to surrender to the Nigerian military thereby decimating their ranks.

Also, it appears that the once dreaded group is being systematically decimated to the point that they cannot present a united and organized military front but only operating a hit and run tactics and a cowardly suicide bombings campaign. The Borno elders’ plea may be a desperate attempt to save the lives of their Kanuri’s tribesmen who constituted 90% of Boko Haram militants.

The kite for peaceful settlement of the long drawn war between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram has been flown by the Borno elders, it remains to be seen how well it will be received by the combatants.

What about you? Should Nigerian Government negotiate with Boko Haram? Is it a better solution to stop the war in the North East?