FG Must Parley Now With Boko Haram-Shehu Sanni By TheNEWS

Shehu Sanni
By Femi Adi/Kaduna

Comrade Shehu Sani, Kaduna-based author and activist, tells FEMI ADI how the Boko Haram menace could be ended.

What is your understanding of Boko Haram’s lethal campaign?

Since the Boko Haram insurgency began, people in the country and outside have expressed different views. While some say Boko Haram is a western design to destroy Nigeria, others say the group emerged as a result of poverty and prolonged years of underdevelopment in the northern part of the country. And there are those who say Boko Haram is a product of the northern political establishment, which set it up to fight President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian. Yet, others say Boko Haram started as a tool of the political establishment in the North-east that was later abandoned. Certain people prefer a spiritual explanation, describing the group as the manifestation of an evil spirit. A strand of the analyses holds up Boko Haram as a continuation of the bigotry, extremism and religious intolerance that is common in the North and link the group to al-Qaeda. There are those who believe that Boko Haram’s anger was sparked by the extra-judicial killing of its members in 2009. In the last three years, almost every Nigerian has become a commentator or expert on Boko Haram. But we need to separate the myth from reality. A typical northerner’s understanding of Boko Haram is different from that of a southerner. What many don’t know is that there are many Islamic sects in the northern part of the country. Boko Haram is not even a major sect. But for the fact that it has picked up arms to fight the state, it is better known nationally and internationally. We have the Quadriyya, Tijaniyya, Shi’a, Sunni, Ahmadiyya, Izala and many other sects. I believe that if the same treatment meted out to the Boko Haram leaders had been meted to them, they would have responded in a worse way. For now, it’s good for us to separate the reality from the myth. I have always believed those from the South don’t know the religious and political dynamics of the people of the North and that is why it is easy, if you live in Lagos or Port-Harcourt or in the Diaspora, after you have sipped a hot cup of coffee or orange juice, you conclude your analysis by suggesting that Boko Haram should be crushed by all means. For a Nigerian in Kano, Maiduguri or other northern states, which has witnessed Boko Haram’s terror, the view may be different. And this not because he’s in support of Boko Haram or sympathetic to the sect. It’s different in the sense that the Nigerian security forces have proved incapable of protecting the lives of Nigerians and have also proved incapable of fighting the sect. This confusion is not only limited to the ordinary people, but also to the people in the position of power. Boko Haram started as a non-violent Islamic group and has been campaigning for an Islamic state and proper implementation of Sharia, which they preach and propagate in their mosques and schools. There are hundreds of sects in the North that also engage in such, but the difference is that Boko Haram has picked up arms against the state.

Most people do not understand what the demands of the group are.

Going by their statements, we know that they have been asking for the release of their members from detention. They have also been raising issues about the percieved injustice meted to them in 2009 and nobody did anything about it. There is also the contentious issue of Islamisation of the country. As an insurgent group, it should be obvious to them that not all their demands are achievable no matter the number of people bombed. One thing that is very clear, an Islamised Nigeria cannot happen even if they bomb as many people as they want. But some of their demands can be brought to the table if there is genuine peace parley like the one to which I took former President Obasanjo last September and the one between the federal government and Dr. Datti Ahmed. You could see the emphasis on the release of their wives, children and members who have been in police cells and prisons for a long time. As for me, all I will need is a commitment from the government, with a guarantee from the group that if such demands are met, they will stop what they are doing. But right from the start, there was no effort by anyone to ensure that the demand for release of their members are met.

Is the bombing of innocent people the appropriate way of pressing home their demands?

No. But if a country is faced with these kind of terror attacks, there are measures you can adopt. The first option is the use of force to crush the group before it gets out of hand. If that was working, I would have been the first to support it. But I am living in the North and you are interviewing me here in the North. When I see our security men only protecting their houses, homes and children, when I see security forces sometimes running away after a bomb blast and hiding, I do not think that I can put my trust in them to end terror. If you’re in a city like Kano or Kaduna, you’ll see heavy presence of security men at police stations, commissioners’ homes, military barracks or in areas where top government functionaries are or reside. If these are the people being protected by security agencies, how can an ordinary man who is vulnerable to Boko Haram attack advocate that the use of force is the solution? As I said, if you don’t live within the firing zone, you could air views that do not reflect what is on ground. We can use force if it will end it. But the force used over years has not ended the insurgence. The strategy used by security agents is such that if a bomb goes off in a certain district, everybody living there is punished for it. Is that the kind of force that we should advocate? A guerilla insurgency of this kind comes with a very heavy price. To get at one Boko Haram member, you may end up bringing down more than twenty innocent lives. Killings and violence are not things we can easily swallow as a country.

What do you have to say about the recent attacks on the media?

The simultaneous attacks on ThisDay in Abuja and Kaduna are a condemnable and repressive act. It is an affront to freedom of speech. It is also one act that is most detrimental to whatever cause the group has been fighting because no group fights the media and succeeds. However, I will also make it very clear that the group has a policy of issuing warnings. And if it issued warnings, it behoves on the government to protect such institutions. But it didn’t happen. There were more than twenty of such threats to the media before the attacks. They had said if the media remains subjective, they would hit them. I expect a responsible government to have taken it seriously and provided protection for the media houses before the unfortunate attacks. But the people they are protecting are the members of their families. The government can protect police stations, government agencies, but not media houses. And I believe that it is the government that has the responsibility to maintain law and order, keep peace and protect people from terror attacks. It is annoying that the only thing you hear after any bomb attack is condemnation. The Senate, House of Representatives and Presidency will condemn it, but nothing will be done until another person is attacked. Condemnation is good, but I believe in a proactive engagement with the group in the interest of peace. When you have a dysfunctional government, we are not secure as a people. One thing that the Boko Haram has been able to expose is the inability of government to provide security for its citizens. It has also exposed the long years of weakness, corruption and neglect of the Nigerian state. What matters most to those in government is political power and acquisition of wealth.

What solution would you suggest, given the potency of Boko Haram’s threat to the progress of the North and corporate existence of the country?

Three things. The first is to reach out to Dr. Datti Ahmed for talks since members of the group trust him as one who could mediate between the sect and federal government. Religious and political leaders should also reach out to him for rounds of talks in order to get a lasting ceasefire. The second thing we should do is to look for the leaders of different Islamic sects in the North to come together and directly reach out to Boko Haram as a group. All should come together and offer guarantees and reach out directly to Boko Haram. The third option is the use of force. But, as I said, it comes with a lot of consequences. Most of the meetings over the insecurity in the North are held far away from the action spot. I want to make my mark and contribute to finding a solution to the problem of Boko Haram.

Why did talks between the government and Dr. Datti break down?

Two reasons. The first one was that the talks were meant to be confidential and the outcome made to public later, but government betrayed the agreement for secrecy. Secondly, the talks were supposed to be productive in terms of ensuring that both sides hold on to the commitments. But right from the beginning, some elements within the Jonathan administration made sure that every detail of the discussion was leaked to the public. Also, there seems to be a sense of unwillingness on side of government to give in to the demands of the sect for release of its members and guarantee their security. If I was in government, I would divide Boko Haram detainees into three. The first would be the high profile targets,who are their leaders in prisons. The second would be the foot soldiers and the third category would be their wives and children and innocent people arrested on the streets in the name of Boko Haram. As a responsible government you can, as a kind gesture, release the lowest category and see what the group will do. But when nothing is done, it becomes a serious problem. All that is done now is to wait for a bomb and condemn the act. This is quite unfortunate and retrogressive.


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Why d socalled break up

It is very annoying that igbo ppl r calling 4 d break up considering d nature of ur region.eg skweug envrmt,notorious gang of armrobbers,fraudlend barboons and many more to list.

GEJ use the Maitsine Strategy for B/Haram

I am grossly disgusted with qouting of Bible readings on the debate on B/Haram on this blog. Who ever is doign this must stop now. B/Haram press releases are often wishy washy on their aims and objectives of killing innocent souls. Just as Maitatsine group were eliminated with fire, so will B/Haram come to pass, if GEJ is serious. The blood of the slain victims of their barbaric acts will not go in vain. GEJ needs to focus more on dealing with them than sending soldiers to Guinea and Mali under ECOWAS peace treaty. His house (Nigeria) is on fire, and he is quenching other nations fire, what manner of leader is this, ah!!!!

the igbos who were killed by the boko haram demand your heads

the likes as Shehu Sanni and those who paid boko haram as compensation must be dancing and partying when boko haram were cleaning out the igbos in their mist. the igbos are now well cleaned out, and they are now crying as the mysterious curses of the killed ones is hovering. they forsee the killing of themselves which is knocking even against their rights to write books and publish in their vicinities. sORRY FOR THE WRONG KILLING OF INNOCENT PEOPLE(IGBOS) IN YOUR MIST BECAUSE THE CURSES HOVER IN YOUR LANDS.O di kwa egwu!

B/Haram need fire for fire not dialogue

Parley or no parley with B/Haram is share waste of time and resources, so long they choose not to respect the constitution of Nigeria, the sultanate and other religions and their worshipers. I believe in fire for fire, then they will be brought to their knees, period.

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You guys are right good job

You guys are right good job like it very much.

Security alart! Why did u

Security alart! Why did u hide ur identity if you are serious as you have said.

On Negotiation With Boko Haram

Federal Govt needs to negotiate with Boko Haram. A set of Nigerian is giving the whole Nigerian problem and bad names and some people saying we should not negotiate. Are we living them to continue maiming and killing us? Until a minister or senator is killed before negotiation is taken place. It is better a round table discursion is taken immediate effect now.

what type of Commander is Samyoung while my people are killed

I have come out of my slumber to save my people. What type of Commander is Samyoung eating, drinking watching my people being sacrificed again. They did it when I was a baby in Biafra, but today I say to Nigerians enough is enough. I have declared Air War with all lords and God fathers of Boko Haram and any body or groups working against Ndigbo. There must be an Ibo Woman President come 2015. Nothing less than that I want now. Do you think my Commander is for pride or show off, now you will know. My Air Force Supernatural Army knock down all planes of Boko Haram God fathers.Jesus Christ asked the Jews: If them that brought the world of God were made Gods by Law, but the Word of God is here with you what I am? God of Gods. Allah of all Allahs.(John 10:34.35)

Shehu Sanni clear yourself today

These masked God fathers of Boko Haram your days are numbered.What is demand of Boko Haram? Why should I fold my hands seeing all these problems caused by people who killed my people for the sake of One Nigeria. I sufffered in Biafra, I saw all crime Nigerians and Western world comitted in Eastern Nigeria during the war, still same people who fought us and enslaved us to be Nigeria come back to kill us because they wanted to chained us with religous slavery. Sani from today if North refused to repent and allowed Ndigbo to be Nigeria next President they will see true trouble not of men but of Supernatural war.I can not take it any longer.



christain In BokoHaram

i dont understand that christain are cought with bomb and weapon dress like a BH member and bomb their own place of worship while people will thing that its Bh bombing their churches. the fact is their are some tricky things that are involved and encapsulated which people has to thinks wisely and understand the logic behind. in Gombe state some christains were cought trying to bomb a church since then we havnt heard the judgement made by the law enforcement. so we have to unite ourself.

Only a BH activist justifies attacks on media and innocent pple

This Sani idiot justifies the sect's bombing of media houses! Sad and v disappointing. Activist? Anarchist is more like it.

Sanni activist is pro-Boko

Sanni activist is pro-Boko Haram supporter. Ahmed Datti is a politician and why boko haram has not been brought under control is because they have northerner backers and informants in the security forces

Sanni is an indirect

Sanni is an indirect spokesperson for boko haram. I am sure he belongs to the same islamic religious sect as some of them like Dr. Ahmed Datti.


Wait Ơ̴̴͡....all diz views and comments...abuses or corrections...Boko Haram...I repeat again Boko Haram sects....in D̶̲̥̅̊ name of Jesus,all ur plans 'll be revelead in 30days. I speak as ‎​Α̅ prophet of D̶̲̥̅̊ Lord...you shall come into light and reveal ursef.

U don‘t understand & u will neva.....

If u r goin 2 contineou to see BH from an islamic point of view,u will neva understan .why dnt u ask urselves the membership of some a christians arrested in d group?Or is christianity has any ting to do wit islam?Then why christians in d islamic group?See, we better tell ourselvs d truth cos violence spare no religion.in dis boko haram minance‘ both muslims & christians r affected.so lets join hands together & fight them instead of accusing one region or religion responsible for it.For God will surely expose who so ever is responsible for boko haram but only if we r objective.god bless 9ja

This is the kind of response

This is the kind of response one will expect from right thinking Nigerian. The incompetent government have fuelled killing by BH. Government should get up from lootacracy venture and put proper system in place to help our country.

Let's be realistic

Sheu Sanni had only made suggestions on how the menace of BH can be tackled of which dialogue is one. Why is it that noone had read the part where he said use of force is an alternative. Its pathetic how nigerians respond to issues. Instead of planning to impeach(or has the word gone out of our system)the moron we stupidly put in Aso Rock who can only condemn the action of the sect but clueless as to what to do about them,we are condemning a just and reasonable solution without offering one.

let's be objective

I read ppls opinions n I find myself disgusted bcos many here talk without any insight. I'm a northerner n I live in d north. I don't see how a dialogue wit dis killers is our best option. D military handled d metaseni sect in d 80's n ibliv dey can handle dis fools if d govt rili wants to. Abacha's administration, El Zak Zaki, the leader of d shi'ites in nigeria was arrested n I can't remember dem goin about killing ppl cos dey wanted him to be released. Even if dey r aggrieved, is dis d best way to air their grievances? Neglect by d govt is a national problem, its not perculiar to any region. I knw d govt isn't doin half as much as dey shud be doin wit regards to security. Infact, dis is jus anoda avenue for dem to steal more money. We as northerners hav to learn to protect our image. We nid to say enuff is enuff. Forget religious/tribal sentiments, dey havnt done us any good.


No country worth her salt will ever negotiate with a terrorist...

Is boko haram greater than Nigeria....
simple solution....operate a cashless society...put a rope on their source of finance and lets see how far they can survive...

Certain Nigerian are supporting this so called boko

Nigerian are supporting this so called boko . read here http://whynigeria.com/

Sanni who, Shehu who?

This man is an idiot, simple. Give audience to BH for what? You must be out of your mind. We are tired of these Hausa/Muslim rubbish. ENOUGH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sound and logical insight

Very informative on Boko Haram group. Kind of changed my perception on a lot of misgiven i had for BH. Not that their actions of bombing are in order but it seems that the incompetency in the government circle is providing fuel for the increasing menance of the BH. Hence, they are taken advantage of incompetency. Way forward: Government should be bold enough to take up its responsibility of protecting the people and dispensing equity and justice proptly.

Northern backwardness.

The north is so backward because your typical. Hausa/fulani/kanuri shuns western education while his southern christian counterpart thinks education is

"a do or die affair. The poverty and ignorance are self imposed!!!

condemning govt is akin to aiding BH

yes woo! the shehu sanis, the
datti ahmeds and the daily trust buffoons
are in effect the western educated political arm of

BOKO HARAM ISLAMIC TERRORISTS!! They are always soft on BH and harsh on a government trying its best to maintain law and order.

who Is Shehu Sanni???

From time to time a name pops out of Northern Nigeria & we are supposed to pay attention.This time it is one Shehu Sanni!I am told he is an activist. He says in his interview that the Government must negotiate with Boko Haram .I am sorry, but these Northerners seem to read from the same script.They remind us about the neglect in the North, the prolonged detention of members of BH, the extra- judicial killings!.But I did not hear Mr Sanni condemm the indiscrimate killing of Christians & southerners in many areas in the North? Why is BH bombing Churches? If education is haram , how is Nigeria supposed to develop? Why would it try to impose Sharia in a secular Republic?Does this group recognize that many Nigerians (perhaps, a majority)are not Muslims?What are the issues in the negotiation with the Government?Let me remind the Shehu Sannis of this world, the Nigeria of 2012 is far different from the CAPTIVE country of 1966

Abiola I am not suprise.so

Abiola I am not suprise.so this is all you have being planing with your foolish badluk jonathan to destroy the north and have a better 2015 for your selves rit? After all the last bomb blast in kaduna was launched out by an igbo man so this is a plan after all.thanx 4 giving us a clue Allah almighty will continue to expose you all inshaAllah.

Check your fact

The united state actually dialogue with al queada nd i always thing nigeia should do the same.

Adefoluke adeyemi is dat what

Adefoluke adeyemi is dat what bible teaches you? You are insulting the most respected being on earth we muslims will not revenge with insult we leave all to God he does the judgement and if you don't repent then I am sorry for your life it will be wrost than you can ever immagine