Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the catholic Archbishop of Abuja, has revealed what President Muhammadu Buhari should do to stop the deadly Boko Haram insurgency.
The prominent cleric has advised the incumbent Nigerian leader to involve the sect in negotiations.
Onaiyekan, who is the ex- president of the Christian Association of Nigeria spoke in Abuja at the 2015 Catholic Television of Nigeria dinner.
The cleric said: “What happened in Mali can happen here. We do not need people to cause this kind of great calamity.
“The question is how do you create a situation where such things don’t happen?
“It is not easy but you can do all you can to put security apparatus around but you cannot do it in such a way that no bad people will move around.
“As a spiritual leader, the solution is first we should pray because God can do everything.
“Secondly, we should look into our religious messages, because many of these terrorists are also calling the name of some religion, calling the name of God.
“But we must find a way of letting them (Boko Haram members) know that this is not what God wants.
“I personally do not know how to achieve this but I believe that a lot still needs to be done.
“When you (government) reply fire for fire I am afraid it does not solve the problem.
“So, apart from military tactics there is need for more effort as political discussion, reaching out to people.
“Even the terrorists are human beings born of a woman with feelings. I am sure somebody somewhere can talk to them.”
During the presidential campaign Buhari pledged not to hold talks with the terrorists if chosen as president.
Meanwhile, in a BBC interview several months ago the president has welcomed talks with Boko Haram insurgents.
The last ceasefire agreement between the militants and Nigerian government in October 2014 has failed when the Boko Haram sect rejected that they had agreed to a ceasefire with Goodluck Jonathan’s government.
Negotiations with the insurgents in recent years have failed to achieve a peace deal, partly because it has several rival factions.
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