The government of Nigeria would be willing to negotiate with Boko Haram if the commanders of the group “will allow themselves to be identified” and express clear and present demands”, said president Goodluck Jonathan a week after the bomb attacks in the northern city of Kano that killed at least 186 people.
“If you allow yourselves to be identified and clarify the reasons for which you are fighting the government and kill innocent people – claimed the head of state – it could be a basis for dialogue.”
Jonathan added that the difficulty in establishing direct contact with the leaders of Boko Haram has so far been a major obstacle to a deal, which, however, was for the most part successful with the militants of the armed groups in the Niger Delta oil region.
The government had already suggested the opening of negotiations in June. The negotiations have not started while Boko Haram continued to claim attacks, mostly in its strongholds in the northern semi-arid Nigeria.
Jonathan’s statements, spoken yesterday in Abuja, came shortly after news of the kidnapping of a German engineer who worked in Kano.