Borno state governor Kashim Shettima has turned down an award from an Europe based non-governmental organisation, International Advocacy for Peace Negotiation & None-violence after being nominated for the award on Wednesday following his success of achieving ceasefire via dialogue with Boko Haram. The Governor humbly rejected the offer, which the NGO said in a letter dated 30th January, 2013 and addressed to Shettima that his ‘resilient and determined role in brokering a cease fire deal with Boko Haram as well as his pioneering and consistent calls for dialogue’ merited him the award’.
Governor Shettima said such award may be a welcome idea, even as he described it as ‘hasty, biased and unnecessary’.
In the award letter signed by one Mr. Russell Donvito, who is the
Coordinator of the NGO, Governor Shettima was supposed to be presented
with the award in far away Brussels by March, 2013.
Russel’s letter reads in part; ‘we remember you making that proposal
to the media in April, 2011, as the Governor of Borno State, being the
centre of the insurgency.
We have been closely monitoring your (Shettima) actions and
statements about peaceful resolution, we have also confirmed from our
local based partners how you have been committed and meeting different
people including detained insurgents, courting and persuading them to
give links for negotiation.
We belief that negotiations must start from somewhere, you cannot
have all armed guys to turn in overnight, you must start from someone
however low or big so long as he is of that group.
It is for these and much more, including your bold submission in
Washington in 2011 before the US military, calling for dialogue with the
Boko Haram when most other speakers couldn’t say, that we think you
should be singled out for honouring at no cost whatsoever, by the
Justifying his boss’ action in an interview, Governor Shettima’s
spokesman Isa Umar Gusau, said the Governor did not reject the award but
‘humbly and politely feels that the award is to , “hasty, biased,
diversionary and extremely selective because so many people, key
security chiefs, establishments and groups at the national and state
levels are actually involved in whatever successes gradually being
achieved and these people and groups are still working day and night to
achieve peace for Borno and Nigeria”’.