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Boko Haram: Governor-elect Shettima reaffirms determination to make peace

KASHIM SHETTIMA Gov-elect, Borno State

On 12 May, Borno State governor-elect, Alhaji Kashim Shettima, reaffirmed his determination to pursue peace with the militant Islamist sect, Boko Haram, saying it would be difficult for him to actualize his manifesto if the state continues to suffer from a climate of insecurity.

Shettima, who was speaking after collecting his Certificate of Return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the Borno State capital, Maiduguri, said he regards his new office as “a call to service for the development of our state and humanity”, but that his administration would not achieve its goals unless it first creates a secure environment for governance and development.

 “The fact is that we cannot achieve anything without peace. We hope to pursue available and legitimate options to reach a consensus with the members of the Yusufiyya (Boko Haram) movement,” he said.

Shortly after he was elected the new governor of Borno State on 28 April, Shettima had stated that his administration would, within its first 100 days in office, hold discussions with Boko Haram towards granting its members amnesty, and restoring peace in the state.

However, on 9 May, a Boko Haram spokesman, Abu Dardam, told the BBC Hausa Service in Kaduna that the group would not accept any amnesty or dialogue because: “First, we do not believe in the Nigerian constitution and, secondly, we do not believe in democracy but only in the laws of Allah”. Shettima’s most recent statement suggests that he is not discouraged by that hard line reaction.

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