Nigerian children studying the Quran in the area where Abubakar Shekau, the Boko Haram leader, was once educated. Credit Benedicte Kurzen for The New York Times

Boko Haram: Nigerian Government Cannot Negotiate With Criminals – David Mark


The Senate President, David Mark, has restated Federal Government’s  resolve to fight insurgency and other security challenges, saying government will not negotiate with criminals.

Mark stated this in Ikom at an empowerment programme organised by the Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, for his constituents in the Cross River Central Senatorial District.

According to the Senate President, the Federal Government has the resources to deal with insurgency, criminals and those blackmailing it.

“Anytime I have an opportunity in these times to make a comment, I take pains to say something very important. This government will not yield to blackmail.

“This government cannot negotiate with criminals and this government will not exchange people for criminals, a criminal will be treated like a criminal.

“This government will, at no distant time, bring the issue of Boko Haram and insecurity in the northern part of this country to a long term and logical conclusion.

“We will mobilise all resources. If people declare war on us, we will also declare war on them.

“If Boko Haram and their supporters are not ready for peace, we will be glad to deal with them in the manner people deal with terrorists and insurgents. It is not by negotiation,’’ Mark said.

He expressed happiness that a cordial relationship exists between Ndoma-Egba and Gov. Liyel Imoke of Cross River.

The Senate President said the Senate Leader had attracted meaningful, sustainable development and empowerment programmes to the state.

Mark said if Ndoma-Egba was re-elected for another term at the Senate, he would no doubt attract more of such empowerment programmes to the state.

“I have not come here for a campaign. We are here to support Ndoma-Egba. There are two persons who make the Senate a very important institution in our democracy and very stable.

“These are the Deputy President and the Leader of the Senate,’’ he said.

In his remarks, Imoke urged legislators from the state to engage in meaningful and sustainable empowerment programmes as well as give a good account of themselves.

“This is what the Senate Leader has done today. We want to see sustainable empowerment. He has made us proud at the National Assembly.

“Nigerians should continue to give our leaders all the support they need to succeed, to avoid distractions in their resolve to deliver on their mandate.’’

Earlier, Ndoma-Egba had said the empowerment programme was the fifth this year in the health, education and agricultural sectors in his constituency.

“We have been giving out cars before now. Today, we are giving out 50 cars, a number of oil mills, a number of corn mills, and video viewing centres.

“We have done our scholarship for last year and we are doing more this year,’’ he said.

Ndoma-Egba urged those yet to benefit from the empowerment programme to be patient as their turn would certainly come “for the rain to fall on you’’.

Also speaking at the occasion, the PDP National Chairman, Alhaji  Adamu Mu’azu, said the party was happy that its representatives had been “building structures which promote the well-being of our people and democracy’’.

“Through this, we will keep democracy alive. We should continue to empower people, promote goodwill and support government,’’ he said.

Mu’azu was represented by Dr Steve Oru, the PDP Chairman (South-South).

The ceremony was attended by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and the Chairman of PDP in Cross River, John Okon, among other dignitaries.

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