The president disclosed this in response to questions from members of the Nigerian community in France under the auspices of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization (NIDO).
He stated, however, that in perfecting the negotiation, government must first establish those who are genuine members of the sect in order not to make the mistake of engaging the wrong persons.
“It is a very sensitive development in the sense that, first, we have to establish whether they are genuine leaders of Boko Haram. Number two: what are their terms? The first impression we had was not very encouraging.”
“They wanted us to release one of their leaders who is a strategic person in developing and making the IEDs that are causing a lot of havoc in the country by blowing up people in churches, mosques, markets, motor parks and other places,” Buhari said.
“But it is very important that if we are going to talk to anybody, we have to know how much he is worth. Let them bring all the girls and then we will be prepared to negotiate. I will allow them to come back to Nigeria or to be absorbed in the community.
Explaining why the negotiation had become necessary, Buhari said, “This has drawn a lot of sympathy throughout the world. That is why this government is getting very hard in negotiating and getting the balance of those who are alive.”
LEADERSHIP recalls that in July this year, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had stated that government was ready to engage the sect if they were genuinely willing to surrender.