Schoolgirls: Mark insists FG won’t negotiate with B’Haram

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Senate President, David Mark, on Saturday ruled out any form of negotiation with Boko Haram insurgents for the release of the over 200 girls abducted from Government Secondary School in Chibok, Borno State.

He said the insurgents had declared war on the country, saying the government would respond likewise.

Mark said this at Ikom, Cross River State, during an empowerment programme organised by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, for the people of the central senatorial district.

The Senate President said government was initially ready for peace but it appeared the perpetrators of terrorist activities and their supporters were not ready.

Mark said despite local and international pressure on the Federal Government, over the abduction, government would not negotiate the release of innocent girls with criminals.

He added that government would use all resources at its disposal to bring the issue of Boko Haram to a logical end.

He said, “I take pain to say something very important. This government will not yield to blackmail. This government will not negotiate with criminals and this government will not exchange people for criminals.

“A criminal will be treated like a criminal and this government in no distant time will bring the issue of Boko Haram and insecurity in this country to a logical conclusion. We would spare no efforts at all in bringing the insecurity situation in the northern part of this country to an end.

“We would mobilise all our resources. People declare war on us, we would also declare war on them. The government was ready for peace, but obviously, the Boko Haram people and their supporters were not ready and we are going to deal with them in a manner that people deal with terrorists and insurgents.

“It is not by negotiation. If the language they will understand is the language of force, the government has got all the resources to do that.”

Meanwhile, some African countries have offered to assist Nigeria in its efforts to combat terrorism and rescue the abducted schoolgirls.

They pledged to garner all necessary resources to support the Federal Government in its quest to uproot terrorism and restore security of lives and property in every part of the country.

The Chairman, African Diplomatic Group in Nigeria, Ambassador Oubi Bachir, said that African countries were ready to cooperate with Nigeria to tackle terrorism in the sub-region so that socio-economic activities could thrive.

Speaking during the Africa Liberation Day which marked the 51st anniversary of the founding of the African Union in Abuja on Friday, Bachir, who is also the Ambassador of the Western Sahara to Nigeria, condemned the murderous activities of Boko Haram and the abduction of the Chibok girls.

He said, “The African Diplomatic Group calls for the unconditional release of the girls, and supports the resolve of the Federal Government of Nigeria and the international community to once and for all resolve this problem.

“Africa is committed to garnering all necessary resources to support Nigeria in its quest to combat terrorism.”

The ambassador noted that the African Union, which succeeded the Organisation of African Unity on July 9, 2002, was carrying forward the struggle for self-determination and drive for development and integration based on a clear vision for the African Union.

The ultimate goal of the AU, Bachir said, was the construction of a united and integrated Africa, adding that the principle of non-indifference was invoked by authorising the right of the Union to intervene in member-states in conformity with the Constitutive Act.

This, according to him, lays the groundwork for the entrenchment of the rule of law, democracy, respect for human rights, solidarity, and promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women and youths in Africa.

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