On 29 July, the Federal Government announced the establishment of a Presidential Committee on Security Challenges in the North-East of the country, to be chaired by Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari. Among the committee’s terms of reference is to “initiate negotiations” with the militant Islamist group, widely known as Boko Haram.
According to a statement from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), signed by Mr. Dominic Ojeme, the establishment of the Committee follows the meeting which President Goodluck Jonathan and other senior Federal Government officials held with Elders from Borno State and key leaders of the pan-Northern Nigeria organisation, Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), on 20th July, 2011.
The chairman and 7 other members of the committee are as follows:
1. Ambassador Usman Gaji Galtimari – Chairman.
2. Alhaji Abdullahi B. Shehu (from Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government – Secretary.
3. Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume (Senator representing Borno South).
4. Mr. Joe-Kyari Gadzama (Legal Practitioner and Senior Advocate of Nigeria).
5. Col. Musa Shehu, Rtd (General Secretary of Arewa Consultative Forum).
6. Sen. Bala Mohammed (Minister of Federal Capital Territory).
7. Dr. Bello H. Mohammed (Minister for Defence).
8. Barr. Emeka Wogu (Minister for Labour and Productivity).
The statement said the Committee is “to look into the security challenges in the zone”. However, it also outlines the Committee’s 5-point Terms of Reference as follows:
a. To review all the issues of security challenges in the zone and proffer solutions/recommendations which would bring a speedy resolution of the crisis;
b. To serve as a liason between the Federal Government (State Government where necessary) and Boko Haram and to initiate negotiations with the sect;
c. To liaise with the National Security Adviser (NSA) to ensure that the security Services discharge their respective assignments with optimal professionalism;
d. To consult with stakeholders from time to time for suggestions and to ascertain the true state of affairs; and
e. To consider any other initiative that will serve to engender enduring peace and security in the area.
The Committee is to be inaugurated on Tuesday, 2 August 2011.
[A PROFILE OF THE COMMITTEE’S CHAIRMAN, AMBASSADOR USMAN GAJI GALTIMARI, IS ALSO PUBLISHED ON THIS WEBSITE]