FORMER Military Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), on Tuesday called on Nigerians to pray for members of Boko Haram “to have a change of heart, come to the table and ensure peace”.
He said this when members of the Presidential Committee visited him in his hilltop residence in Minna.
To him, it is saddening that despite repeated calls, Boko Haram members have refused to hearken to the voice of reason.
He said: “To those people who on their own decided to take violence as a means of achieving whatever their aim is, I implore Nigerians to pray for them so that they have a change of heart, come to the table, discuss peace and discuss their grievances.
“If you go to the North especially Borno and Yobe where this is happening, you will weep especially for women and children, children have become orphans, women became widows and people separated from one another.
“It is saddening that despite repeated calls, the Boko Haram sect have refused to hearken to the voice of reasoning and lay down their arms.
“In the name of their conscience, in the name of Allah which they claim they profess, they should lay down their arms and embrace dialogue to end the circle of violence.
“Violence doesn’t solve problem, you must come to the table, without doing that, your grievances are meaningless”.
He, however, cautioned the committee not to allow the Federal Government victimise sect members that turn themselves in, while urging the appropriate authorities to provide economic succour to Nigerians.
“The teaming unemployed but highly educated youths are a threat to peace in any society while government cannot employ everybody. We must create the right environment for them to thrive”.
He challenged members of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue & Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenge in the North to be result oriented in their assignment by returning peace to the North “as the eyes of the whole world harps on you to deliver”.
Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenge in the North who is also the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Kabiru Taninu Turaki, urged Abubakar to use his wealth of experience and contacts in assisting the committee towards persuading leaders of Boko Haram to come out and dialogue with the committee.