"WE are seeking forgiveness from the people over the number of people killed in the country. I appeal to those who lost their loved ones to our activities to forgive us and on our side we have forgiven
all those who committed atrocities against us. I want to state clearly that we have no hands in the unfortunate attack on the secondary school (Government Secondary School, Mamudo, Yobe State)."
With these words, Imam Muhammadu Marwana, an influential member of the Abubakar Shekau-led Boko Haram sect, yesterday, confirmed a ceasefire agreement with the Federal Government to end their deadly activities across most states of Northern Nigeria, which have claimed about 4,000 lives and destroyed properties worth billions of Naira since 2009.
The agreement came exactly 82 days after the Federal Government raised a 25-man committee to work out modalities for granting the amnesty to the sect.
Indeed, the Federal Government, yesterday, said that it had signed a ceasefire agreement with the militant group. Minister of Special Duties and Chairman of the Peace and Dialogue Committee in the North, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki announced the ceasefire agreement on the Hausa service of Radio France International monitored in Kano.
The announcement came on the eve of the Muslim Holy month of Ramadan expected to commence today throughout the world and also coincided with a vehement denial by the insurgents that they had no hands in the murder of 30 boarding students of a secondary school in Yobe weekend.
Although details of the peace deal were scanty, Turaki who spoke in Hausa further said that the Boko Haram insurgents had agreed to lay down their arms and that the formal signing of agreement would be done later.
"We have sat down and agreed that Jama'atu Ahlul Sunnah Lidda'awati wal Jihad, known as Boko Haram will lay down their arms as part of the agreement so as to end the insurgency. Government agreed with ceasefire and will look into ways to ensure that the troops relax their activities till the final take off of the ceasefire," Turaki told his interviewers.
Confirming the truce, Imam Muhammadu Marwana said: "This ceasefire, in sha'Allahu, from the time I am talking to you (Radio France Hausa Service) we have ceasefire because of the discussion held so as to have peace over this struggle."
The Boko Haram stalwart added that "we are seeking forgiveness from the people over the number of people killed in the country.
Sounding apologetic during the Radio news, Imam Marwana declared that "I appeal to those who lost their loved ones to our activities to forgive us and on our side we have forgiven all those who committed atrocities against us"
He added that "I want to state clearly that we have no hands in the unfortunate attack on the secondary school."
Meanwhile, the presidential committee has been holding meetings with members of the sect who are in detention, and had claimed it obtained valuable information from the meetings that pointed at ways of resolving an insurgency that has left thousands dead and many injured.
Already, President Goodluck Jonathan has, based on the recommendation of the committee, ordered the release of all women and children in detention linked to the deadly sect.
The sect members had insisted on the release of their wives and children in detention as one of the conditions for dialogue.
President Goodluck Jonathan had on April 17 constituted the Minister Turaki-led presidential committee to constructively engage key members of Boko Haram.
The committee was also to define comprehensive and workable framework for resolving the insecurity in the country.
Other members of the committee are Ahmed Lemu, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Musa Shehu (rtd.), Abubakar Tureta, and Abubakar Sodangi.
Also in the committee are Ahmed Makarfi, Mohammed Matawalle, Zakari Ibrahim, Naja'atu Mohammed, Adamu Ladan, Joseph Golwa, A.I. Shehu and R.I Nkemdirim.
Other members are, P. I. Leha, Nura Alkali, Salihu Abubakar, Abubakar Sani Lugga,Ibrahim Tahir, Ibrahim Sab, Baba Ahmed Jidda, Bilal Bulama, and Bolaji Akinyemi
Two members , Datti Ahmed and Shehu Sani, declined to serve on the committee, saying they were not sure of government's commitment to the process.
The committee's terms of reference also include developing a framework for the granting of amnesty and setting up of a framework through which disarmament could take place within a 60-day time frame.
Boko Haram Begs For Forgiveness, reaches Ceasefire Deal with FG
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