Borno State Governor, Mr. Kashim Shetima, on Thursday asked the Federal Government to consider the option of negotiating with the Boko Haram sect if the action would ensure the release of the Chibok schoolgirls in their custody.
Shetima stated this during an interview monitored on the Cable News Network in Abuja.
The governor said, “We need to get these girls back and we don’t have the luxury of time at our disposal.
“It is so painful. The issue of not negotiating with the insurgents is out of it;, even if it means talking to the devil if he can come down, to get back our girls, so be it.”
The governor lamented that three years ago, he had drawn the attention of the Federal Government to the fact that the Boko Haram insurgency was a minor problem, but that if it was not handled with care, it was capable of “metamorphosing into a conflagration” that might consume the whole North.
He lamented that “the Federal Government has been deaf, dumb and blind to the realities.”
The governor added, “Boko Haram sect members are a bunch of raving lunatics, who are taking coger because they had violated every single concept and belief of the religion of Islam. They have gotten a very captive audience because of the endemic poverty in the area.
“Military option is not the only way out because Boko Haram is a phenomenon borne out of social exclusivity, poverty, hunger, joblessness and illiteracy.”
Shetima, however, said being an eternal optimist, he believed that the girls would be found.
He said his government was working assiduously with relevant security agencies to secure the release of the girls, adding that there were some information at his government disposal which had been passed on to the Federal Government.
He stated, “Two days ago, we obliged them with the information at our disposal from the local communities because we have a robust relationship with them. The local people have been sensitised to report any unusual movement in their locality and this is yielding positive results.
“We have gone out of our way to assure our people of their safety and we are partnering with the military to achieve this.
“It took quite a while before President Goodluck Jonathan spoke with us on the issue. For the first two weeks, we were playing politics and there is a different between governance and politics.
“Instead of us to jointly address our problems, we were busy looking for scapegoats; so, valuable time was lost in the process.”