Saturday, May 25, 2013

Amnesty Committee, Boko Haram In Secret Meeting In Kaduna

AS part of its ongoing tour of states in the North, the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution on security challenges in Northern Nigeria had a secret meeting with suspected Boko Haram members in Kaduna on Friday, and also visited churches and other sites that were bombed in the recent past.

Although, details of the meeting were not made known to newsmen, sources said the Chairman of the committee, who is also the Minister of Special Duties and Inter Governmental Affairs, Tanimu Turaki, assured the suspects that his committee was prepared to engage them in constructive dialogue with a view to ending the state of insecurity in the country.

Turaki and other members of the committee also went to Armed Forces and Staff College (AFSC), Jaji; St. Andrew Protestant Church, Jaji Military Cantonment, St. Rita Catholic Church, Ungwan Yero, Kaduna.

While at the AFSC Jaji, a mild drama ensued when an officer told the committee members that the Commandant, Air Vice Marshal Effiong Osim, was not going to see them because he was having a meeting with a permanent secretary from the Ministry of Defence.

Although, the visit was unscheduled, the chairman of the committee became furious at the information and ordered that the commandant must see them, as they are on presidential assignment.

“This is rubbish, how can he not see us because he is attending to a permanent secretary? I am a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and we are on presidential assignment. I have left my office and have not attended the Federal Executive Council meetings for five weeks now because of this assignment,” he said.

However, the commandant later apologised for the earlier information from one of his officers, and immediately went into a closed door meeting with the committee before visiting the sight of the bombed church.

At the bomb sites, the chairman assured the victims that the President is particularly worried about the general insecurity across the country, and he is committed to providing succour to the victims and families of dead persons in the bombings, just as he requested the commandant to quantify all the damage in the church in monetary terms and forward it to the committee.

“We are here to ascertain the volume of damage in terms of monetary value and recommend appropriate support programme to the President,” he said.

At St. Rita’s Catholic church, Ungwa Yero in Kaduna metropolis, prayers were offered at the burial ground within the church premises for the four persons who died during the church bombing in October last year, just as the chairman assured that the affected persons would be adequately compensated.

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