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Still On Negotiation With Boko Haram By Oludare Ogunlana

July 5, 2015

Regrettably, this is the first policy statement from President Muhammadu Buhari since assumption of office in May 29, 2015. The message would have been well crafted and properly disseminated to the public in a better way if PMB has officially appointed his National Security Advisor.


In Intelligence circle, you do not only speak to be understood but you speak in order not to be misquoted. You don’t allow your audience to negatively twist your message and use it against the government.

I am sure, that the office of the NSA would have use the word “DIALOGUE or OPEN to TALK” instead of “NEGOTIATION”

Unfortunately, some people do not want us to talk about PMB. They do not want anybody to critique him because they see him as infallible.

However, when confronting terrorism, democratic governments must recognize not only whom they are fighting, but what they are fighting for. This will enable government to know how and when to talk about negotiation or dialogue. I believe the PMB team need to do more.

One of the campaign promises of PMB is to secure the nation against external and internal enemy like Bokoharam.

Nigerians would have love to see that kind of zeal and organization from the day one in office in order to buttress his campaign  assertion that " must first be secured and efficiently and effectively managed if our nation is to bounce back to normalcy for our people to prosper." Buhari, (2014).

Hence, the deeds must be equal to words because if a leader says he will act against a terrorist threat, then it must act. Failure to act against a credible terrorist threat does considerable damage to a nation's credibility and its international reputation.

Therefore, the only meaningful negotiation or dialogue with Bokoharam is our commitment to the rule of law. The government should treat her citizens with respect; uphold their fundamental human rights and make life worth living for them in order not to think the only way for them to enjoy is to die as suicide bombers to guarantee them a good place in their version of heaven.

So, the government may decide to open discussion with those who have genuine grievances and ready to lay down their arms for peaceful redress and reintegration to the system.

We know there is no easy solution and there will never be a clean victory. Therefore, effective mitigation will requires PMB's government to adopt the five traditional method vis-a-vis diplomacy, economic sanctions, military options, covert intelligence operations, and law enforcement action.

It is time to break the circle of "Mourner in Chief."  President Buhari must assemble his security team as soon as possible. Nigerians want a Commander-in-Chief who will stop terrorists from committing acts of violence by capturing them, disrupting their cells, or killing them. We want a government that will keep the most dangerous weapons out of terrorists' hands recognize that it is impossible to prevent all attacks and finally a President that will prevent radicalization by helping to deal with grievances that are spawning terrorists.


Oludare Ogunlana is a CT Expert and writes from Baltimore