Boko Haram Accepts Dialogue in FG’s Video
Boko Haram’s highest decision-making body, also known as the sect’s Shura committee, has accepted to dialogue with the Federal Government, according to a 30-minute video clip released yesterday by the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Conflict and Security Challenges in the North.
In the video, played for journalists at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the Boko Haram members said though Allah enjoins them to fight enemies and infidels, He also enjoins them to accept dialogue whenever requested. The video was in Hausa and Arabic languages but was subtitled in English.
The spokesman of the sect’s Shurah committee, Muhammad Lawan dan Sulaiman, said it had become pertinent for the sect to “bend towards dialogue with the government as a reference to Allah’s injunction”.
He said continuing to fight under the prevailing condition would amount to arrogance as that would neither make the weaker stronger nor make the stronger weaker.
According to him, “it is permissible to reach peace accord and lay down arms with reparation to or against us because of the Allah’s saying when you turn to peace, turn to it with completeness and depend on Allah”.
He said: “Thanks to Allah the Most High who enjoined us to fight enemies and the infidels who also enjoined us to answer the call to dialogue with the infidels and the enemies whenever they request for that. Praise also to the Noble Prophet of Allah Muhammad whom peace is upon him and his companions and those who fellow them in good faith up to the day of resurrection.
“We are indeed surprise with the visit paid to us by a dialogue committee set up by the Federal Government of Nigeria. More surprised, the committee met us in prison custody and explained to us reasons for their visit and also asked four fundamental questions. First, is it possible to dialogue and reach peaceful resolution of the conflict between our brothers and the federal government who are engaged in fighting? Second, which way is the dialogue going to follow?
Third, which assistance those of us in detention would give in realisation of that? Fourth, what assistance do the detainees need to facilitate the dialogue?
“My response is as follows, with the hope that it is in accordance with Allah’s injunction: Indeed, dialogue between the jihadists and the government is possible. This is because dialogue is well rooted in Islam as Allah says in the chapter of Anfal in the Quran that “if they turn to peaceful coexistence, you also should follow suit, you should also depend on Allah. Indeed, He is all-hearing and all-knowing. Alhafiz Ibn Kharhik said if they turn to dialogue, you should accept to do it’. It was based on these that when the pagans sought ceasefire for 10 years with the Holy Prophet in the year the treaty of Hudaibiyyah, the Prophet accepted to their terms, and that it was.
“Ha’ad said there are lots of benefits in heeding to call in the verse which instructed the prophet to positively respond to other party’s call for dialogue as quoted above. Some of the benefits include forgiveness is desirable at all times. So, if they approach you first, is better up to the point where he said: ‘what is feared in dialogue is treachery’. But in this, Allah went on to say it is sufficient for the Muslims and if the infidels embark on any deceit, it will boomerang. Abdullahi Bin Mas’ud said, ‘you regard the conquest of Markkah from infidelity as the greatest achievement and is considered the treaty of Hudaibiyya as the key that opens Makkah’.
“Jibrin bin Abdullahi also said a similar thing. Raka’u bin Malik also said the treaty of Hudaibiyya is key to conquest of Makkah. In view of the authorities quoted and several others similar to them, it is pertinent for brothers, the Jihadists, to bend towards dialogue with the government as a reference to Allah’s injunction. In the verse mentioned earlier, moreover, also, Allah said it is not proper for the believers to follow their desire if Allah and his apostle decide on matter. May Allah help us.
“Here are opinions of scholars on the matter of the questions. Imam Ibn Kayyum Al-Auza’I, in his book Zadul-Ma’ad Fi Hadyi Khairil Ibad, after espousing a chapter on the treaty of Hudaibiyyah set a new chapter on the benefit of the treaty. Among them include its validity. The fact that the pagans and transgressors ask for any matter which remains within the domain of the creator, the believers should accept the request even if they stood on the way to the realisation of their goal, so long as it will not lead to the greatest sin. This is one of the most difficult moments for the companions of the prophet.
“Ibn Kayyum also said it is incumbent on a leader to take advantage of any window that will bring peace for the people. He should not even wait to be approached. Reaching peace with non-believers is lawful so long as it will bring relief to believers. Peace accord, he said, has multiple advantages to believers. Also, the treaty of Hudaibiyyah which legalised repatriation of believers who migrated to the unbelievers as well as the class which prohibited repatriation of deserters excluding women was accepted though unfavourable to Muslims. Further benefit of treaty Hudaibiyyah which followed the conquest of Makkah was the cessation of hostility for 10 years and cessation could go beyond the 10 years if the need arose particularly when the people are at weak point.
“Al-Sheik Yusuf Alqadawi said in his book, Fiqh al Jihad, is foolhardy for Muslims to wait until when they are offered powers by enemies before making conciliation particularly when it is imminent that the enemy is far stronger and that they cannot match them. It will amount to arrogance that if when continues fight under the prevailing condition, a situation which will not make the weaker stronger, nor the stronger weaker. If the Muslim leadership reviews the situation and foresees the danger in the continuation of the war, then it has to be stopped even without the prompting of the enemy. This is exactly what our leader, Muhammad Yusuf, did when he saw the situation deteriorating then. Allah is the best of judges.
“Finally, I hope my fellow brothers who claimed to align themselves with the movement of Muhammad Yusuf will come to reason with the citations made from the scriptures. They should also see beyond their eyes, the condition of the religion and the people under the present circumstance and embrace peace. It is indeed evident enough. Praise is to Allah and His messenger and peace be unto you all.
“Your brothers in Islam, Muhammd Lawan dan Sulaiman, Abdul-Auza’i, Al-Darnawo, Al-Maliki.”
Addressing State House correspondents after the video was seen, the chairman of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North, Tanimu Turaki, said the two-week-old video was showed to prove to Nigerians that indeed there had been dialogue between his committee and the Boko Haram’ shura committee.
Turaki, who is also the Minister of Special Duties, said: “Boko Haram is a very disciplined group which respects seniority” and it is strongly believed that upon watching the video and hearing the Shura members in their own words, field operatives of the group would recognise their leaders and be bound to embrace dialogue. It is incumbent on all true muslims to accept dialogue. They (Shura members) have called on their members and Muslims to give peace a chance.
Turaki said his committee was still making efforts towards meeting another set of senior leaders of the sect, and a splinter group – Ansaru.
On the reported death of the leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, Turaki said his committee had not confirmed it, noting that there was no clear nexus between the sect’s shura committee and the second-in-command with whom the government reportedly secured an earlier peace deal, “or with Shekau who is yet to be personally reached.”
He however stressed that even if Shekau had been killed, “dialogue continues”.
The minister also noted that his committee had no mandate to pay compensation to victims of the terrorist attacks, but would advise the government on how to bring succour to them (victims).
Turaki, who said a list of the victims as well as the circumstances surrounding their loss would be compiled, maintained that the extension of time-frame given to the committee (November 24, 2013) would be met.
According to him, it may not be possible that dialogue with every single leader will have been reached by the end of the committee’s work, but a framework for further work will be handed over to the government.
Turaki said: “We are just coming in from visitation in furtherance of our civilities from Gombe and Bauchi States. We just heard like every other Nigerians about the alleged death of Shekau. Now, we know Col. Sagir Musa very well and we’ve a lot of interactions with him in the course of our visit to Borno State. When the information was broken by members of the press, we tried to get in touch with, but we’ve not succeeded yet. Of course, quite understandably, there is no network service in the state and we are just coming in. So, we have not been able to take time from where we are to make inquiries as far as that issue raised is concerned.
“What you watched is a video clip of some members of the Jama’atul Ahli Sunnat Nida’atul Waljihad who have sat down in Shura, the highest decision-making body, and analysed from purely Islamic perspectives, taking into account the clear and unambiguous provisions of the Holy Qur’an and taking also into account, the teachings and fundamentally, the practices of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) on the issue of dialogue and peaceful reconciliation, strengthening submissions again with the works of other Islamic scholars globally who have had cause in their lifetimes to also make research and came on with a lot of literature supporting the cause on dialogue and stating the parameters ad condition under which dialogue can take place.