New York, US (PANA) - Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan has said he is not opposed to the decision of the government of northern Borno state to enter into dialogue with the Islamic fundamentalist group Boko Haram, which is widely believed to be behind the spate of deadly bombings and killings in the state in recent times.
But he warned that if the proposed dialogue, which he termed 'carrot and stick', fails, the federal government would use its ''full power'' to restore order in the area.
On why he is supporting negotiations with those who had been termed as terrorists, the President said "no government will want to kill its citizens, whether they carry weapons or not."
Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York, on the sidelines of the UN High Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS, on Wednesday, President Jonathan however dispelled the insinuations in some quarters that Boko Haram was targeting Christians because a member of the faith was elected President in April's election.
“Boko Haram is a sect that is against everything Western, either civilization or education. They see those who embrace them as enemies and they are more antagonistic to fellow Muslims that they perceive (to) have embraced the Western way of life. So, the explosions are not targeted at Christians because a Christian is the President,” he said.
Boko Haram, which came into prominence in 2009 when it orchestrated a series of violence in several northern states, has since killed hundreds through bombs and targeted shooting by gunmen riding on motorcycles, mostly in the state capital, Maiduguri, and its environs.
President Jonathan is among the more than 30 leaders currently attending the UN General Assembly High Level Meeting on AIDS holding at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The meeting is taking place 10 years after the historic 2001 United Nations Special Session on HIV/AIDS, and the 2006 signing of the Political Declaration where UN Member States committed to moving towards universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.
The event includes an official plenary and five panel sessions along with 40 individual side events.
The meeting is expected to culminate in the adoption of a declaration which will guide country responses to HIV over the next five years.
-0- PANA MON/SEG 9June2011