BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE & BEN AGANDE, With agency report
ABUJA—PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, said he would neither convert to Islam nor resign his position for peace to reign in the country as demanded by the Boko Haram Sect.
The Jamaatu Ahlis Sunnah Lil Daawati wal Jihad, popular called Boko Haram, which said it was not negotiating with any government representative and had no plans to do so, had in a half-hour video made in Hausa and posted on YouTube, called on President Jonathan to resign, and also accept Islam as a pre-condition for peace.Describing the demand as blackmail that he was not ready to succumb to, the President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Dr Reuben Abati, said he would not resign because he is the custodian of a mandate given to him by Christians and Muslims alike.
According to Abati, it is ridiculous for any group in the country to issue such conditions to the president.
“When Nigerians voted overwhelmingly for President Jonathan in the 2011 general election, they knew they were voting for a Christian. He continues to enjoy the goodwill and support of the good people of Nigeria. As president, Dr. Jonathan is the leader of both Muslims and Christians; in fact, he is the leader of persons of all faiths.
“So, it amounts to sheer blackmail for any individual or group to ask the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to convert to Islam. The president cannot be intimidated by any group or individual. The President will never resign. He has the mandate of Nigerians to serve his fatherland and nobody should imagine that he will succumb to blackmail.”
However, in the video, made by the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, in the form of an Islamic lecture on Saturday, the group offered no explanation for its demands and positions. It claimed that it doesn’t kill “women and children,” but those “who have offended us, arrested our people and killed them” and that some people were committing evil acts in its name and that it would go after such people.
The sect also rejected any plans by the Federal Government to legislate on the number of children Nigerians can have, describing such proposal as “blasphemy.”
The Federal Government has made dialogue with the Boko Haram sect a major way of curtailing the group’s insurgency in Northern Nigeria.
Ahmed Dasuki, the National Security Adviser, had pledged to seek ceasefire with the group before the commencement of the Islamic month of Ramadan which entered its 18th day today.
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