World Bulletin/News Desk
Nigeria has backtracked on earlier claims that it had sealed a cease-fire agreement with the Boko Haram militant group, saying instead that talks are still ongoing and hoping for a deal soon.
"The NSA (National Security Adviser) was of the opinion that high level-contact with the Republic of Chad was made and that some persons who acted on behalf of Boko Haram and who claimed to have authority also had discussions with them and there are some Nigerian officials with them," Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio told reporter after a meeting of the council of state late Tuesday.
"Of course, no agreement has been reached yet. It is just that the press probably misunderstood what was reported, the discussions are on-going," he added.
Akpabio spoke on behalf of the council which comprises the President, his predecessors, governors, top security chiefs and a host of senior government officials.
The governor went on to say that the council was satisfied with the explanations of the NSA and the government's efforts to end the insurgency and restore peace in the restive northeast.
"We must find tactical means of ending this insurgency so that Nigerians can sleep with their two eyes closed," he said.
"We look forward to the day when the real Boko Haram people will actually come out and have a direct dialogue with Nigerians so that peace can return to the northeastern region," according to the governor who was flanked at the briefing by his council colleagues.
The no-agreement claim clearly contradicted earlier claims by several top government officials, including the military which formally asked the troops to stand down in compliance with the alleged ceasefire deal.
Last month, Mike Omeri, spokesman of the counterterrorism national information center, declared that the country had reached a "cease-fire" with the militant group via a deal brokered by Chad. Omeri had said that the deal included freedom for the over 200 girls abducted in the northeast in April this year.
Two days later, defense chief Alex Badeh issued a directive to soldiers on battlefield to stand down in compliance with the development.
However, repeated attacks, abductions and other violent acts blamed on the group following the announcement have helped cast doubt on the cease-fire claims. Last week, a man purported to be Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau appeared in a video denying the group had reached any deal with the Nigerian government. He also ruled out freedom for the abducted girls who he said had been married off.
Last Mod: 05 Kasım 2014, 11:22