By Abdul Kareem
Borno’s popular female peace advocate, Kalthum Muhammed, popularly known for negotiating the release of many abducted persons from the Boko Haram captivity said, Friday, that the insurgents are wasting their lives fighting a war “they can never win.”
Miss Muhammed called on Boko and their ISWAP counterpart to surrender and accept the amnesty offer of the government.
The 25 years old female activist said: “it is still not too late for the insurgents to lay down their arms.”
Addressing a press conference in Maiduguri on Friday, Ms Kalthum said even though the military has made laudable inroad in the renewed fight against Boko Haram, the door for surrender still remains open.
“I am calling on both the members of ISWAP as well as Jama’atul ahl Sunna lil Da’awati wal Jihad (Boko Haram) to lay down their arms and surrender to the military, and embrace peace and be reintegrated into the society.
“I am making this clarion call as a sister and a daughter to them because there is no wisdom in fighting a war that they cannot win.
“I am also appealing to parents to watch over their children so that they don’t end up as new recruits for the insurgents who are doing everything to get new members at the moment.”
Miss Muhammed noted that though there has been relative peace “in Borno State and the entire northeast today”, there is much that still needed to be done in the area of community participation in peacebuilding.
“Peacebuilding is first and foremost about enhancing our strategic coherence to support efforts of government and the civil society to prevent the outbreak, escalation, continuation, and recurrence of conflicts like the Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism, ” she said.
Noting the current stakeholder efforts towards achieving sustainable peace in Borno state, Miss Muhammed said there was a need for “a broad and inclusive approach to such partnerships, working closely together to design and fully implement an innovative carrot and stick approach.”
“I believe that it is expedient for the government to make use of the carrot approach even as the military continues to wield the big stick on the insurgents.”
Acknowledging the “positive leadership style” of Borno state governor, Babagana Zulum, Miss Muhammed said the governor is succeeding because he “knows that building and sustaining peace requires addressing the root causes of conflicts and crises, which often lie in poverty, exclusion, inequality, discrimination and serious violations of human rights.”
She said for the foundation roots of peace to be strengthened “the good people of Borno State need to get actively involved in the process of peacebuilding by supporting the military and the Borno State government in every way they can.”
She advocated that sustaining peace requires support for inclusivity, particularly of those who are frequently marginalized and excluded.
Reactionary approach not working
The KFP chief executive observed that the federal government cannot sustain it’s current counterinsurgency efforts because it is reactionary.
“The human and financial cost of focusing our efforts on responding to crises is unsustainable, ” she said.
“Investment in prevention pays off in human lives, in financial savings, and in development gains. I, therefore, call on the federal government to accelerate its implementation of the Buhari Plan to address the insecurity we are facing in a holistic way.”
She said the KFP commended Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff, Governor Babagana Zulum as well as the GOC 7Div of the Nigerian Army and all soldiers in the frontline “for a job well done.
“I want to make use of this opportunity to formally commend Lt. General Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff,Governor Babagana Zulum as well as the GOC 7Div of the Nigerian Army for a job well done. We in KFP lack words to appreciate you for your sacrifice efforts to see that peace is restored to Borno. Please don’t get discouraged or distracted. Remain focused and sustain the tempo. God will certainly give you victory.”
Miss Kalthum Muhammed has midwifed negotiations that saw to the release of an abducted female Corp member, a pastor and another female from the captivity of Boko Haram.