and such endearing names by Boko Haram members is indicative of the high regard and respect the group has for her.
The ongoing war in Borno State and in some parts of the North-East of Nigeria is trending towards its 10th year. This tragedy may go on for decades if Boko Haram (Yusufia) and the government should continue to hold their “no dialogue, no peace” positions. Experience worldwide has shown that there is no military solution to an insurgency which is engendered by the ills of the society such as poverty, economic hardship, injustice, unemployment and sometimes foreign occupation.
This crisis must, therefore, wily-nily be resolved by dialogue, rather than through an expensive, destructive and bloody military campaign. It is curious that the peace option is barely discussed, whereas it is within reach and ironically from unexpected quarters.
Hajia Hamsatu Allamin, a Kanuri and Hajia Aisha Wakil, (Mama Boko Haram), a lawyer, who is married to a Kanuri judge, have been taking proactive measures to broker peace between the government and Boko Haram insurgents.
Hajia Allamin is the regional manager of Nigeria Stability and Reconciliation programme and Zonal Coordinator, Federation of Muslim Women Association of Nigeria, North-East. She had been to the United Nations and other international institutions to draw world attention to this war and solicit for a peaceful solution.
Her presentation at the San Diego University, USA in 2016 revealed the graphic and shocking story behind the insurgency and the possible way out of the quagmire.
Hajia Wakil fondly called “Yayi Njuma”, (Beloved mother) or Umuh Hair (Mother of peace) and such endearing names by Boko Haram members is indicative of the high regard and respect the group has for her.
Wakil knew most of the now dreaded Boko Haram when they were street urchins in their pre-teen and teenage years. She fed, clothed and cared for their simple needs. And it was these acts of empathy which made her relationship with Boko Haram insurgents deep, special and profound.
The two ladies have been instrumental to the release of several Boko Haram hostages, a feat which borders on the miraculous. They have distinguished themselves in their social works by providing for the poor and needy within their limited means in Borno State, even long before the outbreak of this insurgency.
These exemplary actions show that this crisis is essentially a human problem, which was preventable ab initio if the social issues of poverty had been addressed at the appropriate time.
The activities of these great women are known internationally, but barely in Nigeria, or at least not known to the public, whereas their guidelines for a peaceful resolution of this conflict is the best option, rather than the exertion of more lethal force.
The Borno nation is not short of present and past dignified and powerful personalities such as Sir Kashim Ibrahim, the first Governor of Northern Nigeria, Alhaji Shetima Ali Monguno, Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, Alhaji Mai Deribe, Alhaji Muhammadu Goni, Alhaji Zannah Dipcharima, Alhaji Indimi, Alhaji Ali Kotoko, Alhaji Baba Gana Kingibe, the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, the National Security Adviser to President Buhari, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari.
This array of persons, some of whom still wield enormous influence in government, in business and internationally should not be indifferent to the plight and privations of the ordinary Borno people, who cannot flee from their daily sufferings and calamities.
These influential people should openly support and complement the efforts of the two women in the quest to bring peace to the land of the ancient Kanuri people.
Allamin and Wakil have openly declared that Boko Haram is likely to be amenable and receptive to dialogue and negotiated a settlement without pre-conditions. The release of hostages through their mediation gives hope to such optimism.
It should be reiterated that a military solution to this crisis is not feasible. The attitude of Boko Haram towards mortality is well-known. They embrace death and are ready to kill and be killed, a stance which renders military operations ineffective and consequently wears down morale and the will of the fighting force.
This war can end sooner than expected if hard positions are softened to make way for direct negotiations. For now, nothing is known to the public about any peace initiatives by both parties.
The immediate objective now should be a cessation of hostile activities and a negotiated ceasefire without pre-conditions. This will create the necessary atmosphere for peaceful talks, and hopefully an eventual peace agreement.
Allamin and Wakil could form the arrowhead of the peace team, as neutral moderators. Ambassador Kingibe and any serving or retired military or police officer from the North-East with moderate views may also be part of the negotiation team.
As a nation with great faith in the Almighty, we should continue to pray that the right and just decision will be taken at the appropriate time.