Governor Martin Elechi of Ebonyi State has declared that the decision by the Federal Government to enter into negotiation with the Boko Haram insurgents will bear no fruits, insisting that the sect is being propelled by political motives related to the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan as presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
Speaking when Moslem faithful in the state paid him Sallah homage, a visibly enraged Elechi said there was no basis to negotiate with the murderous insurgents since, according to him, their initial claim of fighting against western education flies in the face especially by their use of products of western civilization like telephone handsets and traveling in aircraft.
While rejecting linking the sect to religion, unemployment or poor social conditions, Elechi stoutly condemned the dialogue between the sect and the Federal Government, stressing that “the negotiation is not sincere because there is no nexus between their agitation and the militancy of the Niger Delta region.”
The governor explained that militancy in the Niger Delta region took off “when oil was discovered in the area, the exploitation process polluted their environment and this affected their agricultural, environmental and general wellbeing”, adding that “though the youths from the area might have overreacted, their actions were still justified than that of the Boko Haram, which has no case to make”.
His words: “Politicians hijacked the sect’s activities for their selfish purposes after the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan as the PDP candidate for last year’s presidential elections. Immediately Jonathan was announced as the winner of the primaries at the Eagle Square Abuja, Northern Governors started receiving text messages from their people accusing them of being anti-Islam. The governors were called several names such as cardinals, bishops and Jonathan’s Campaign Coordinator, Alhaji Dalhatu Tafida, was even labeled a Pope”.
Elechi also disagreed with the leader of the Muslim Ummah that he banned sponsorship of faithful to pilgrimage, saying that the economic conditions in the country following the minimum wage agitation worsened the finances of the state. The development, he said, necessitated a belt tightening including government sponsorship of pilgrims, payment of examination fees for West African Examination candidates, among other freebies.
Earlier, the Chairman of the State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board and Leader of the delegation, Alhaji Suleiman Ogah, commended the governor for his development efforts even as he pleaded with Elechi to facilitate provision of land for the faithful to erect befitting place of worship as well as extending the urban road construction to Hausa quarters.
Ogah, stated that very soon the truth would come to light about the nature of Boko Haram sect. He contended that Islam is a religion that preaches unity, good neigbourliness and peace with other religions.