|Robert Clarke SAN|
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Robert Clarke, has expressed shock, that former President Olusegun Obasanjo asked President Buhari to negotiate with IPOB.
Adding that there is no basis upon which President Muhammadu Buhari should have a dialogue with the Indigenous People of Biafra. He made this statement in an interview yesterday.
When asked, that since the Federal Government has always engaged in dialogue with terrorist group, such as Boko Haram, don't he think it is hypocritical of the government not to have also done same thing with IPOB?
We lawyers believe that before you make any pronouncement, you must know the facts. Boko Haram is an insurgent group, destroying churches, mosques, schools and police stations, that is their modus operandi.
Biafra is a different thing . Its members are saying they don't want to be part of Nigeria, so there is a difference between the two. You can negotiate with terrorists and get them out of their ideology, but no government will go and negotiate with people who want to secede.
I was amazed that my good friend, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, asked Buhari to have a dialogue with Kanu. I am very sorry that he made that statement because I have the greatest respect for him.
We have been friends from youth and I adore his intellect in keeping Nigeria together, but I refuse to accept that statement from him because what IPOB stands for is the destruction of Nigeria's unity.
What do you want to negotiate with such a group? By negotiating with Boko Haram, you can tell them to release the citizens they are holding as hostages while you also release their members.
However, on what terms will you negotiate with IPOB? By doing so, you are giving them an inflated idea of their importance. Once the government makes that mistake, the group will feel pompous. Why should we talk to a group of rascals who say they want to leave Nigeria when their own governors have even proscribed them? Why should Obasanjo say we should talk to them?
On whether the former president was wrong, "I'm not saying he's wrong, that's his own opinion. As a former President, he has access to much information which I don't have, which might have made him to make the statement.