Published On: Tue, Mar 17th, 2015

Boko Haram’s Agitation Is Legitimate…Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

LAGOS MARCH 17TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Ex president Olusegun Obasanjo has indicated that the Boko Haram sect has legitimate grievances.
Criticising the response of the current administration to the insurgency, Obasanjo highlighted low level of education in the northern part of the country as a contributory factor to the situation.

He was speaking on Monday during a global education conference in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Obasanjo said that while 79% of Nigerians received education in the South-West of the country and 77% in the South-East, in the Boko Haram stronghold of the North-East, the figure was just 19%.
“They have legitimate grievances,” he told IBTimes UK. “We don’t need anyone to tell us that that is a problem.
“The response of the government initially was definitely not enough. When Boko Haram started showing their fangs about four years ago, the reaction should have been firm and unmistakable.”
However, he recommended a carrot-and-stick approach, adding that the heat that the sect is facing from the military at the moment could force it to dialogue with the government.
“If Boko Haram is ready to talk, we should talk. But they will need to be pounded a little bit by the military and then, they would be ready to talk,” he said.
“When we were dealing with the carrot aspect, the stick aspect should have been firm. The carrot is those things rightly or wrongly perceived as injustice or grievances that can now be dealt with.
“But the false confidence of the militants to go into Chad, Niger and neighbouring countries has now led to a regional coalition of military and that has been reasonably effective; it has not completely solved the problem.”

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