COMMENT ON DATTI AHMED FROM SAHEL BLOG
Originally posted on Sahel Blog:
Last week, news broke that the Federal Government of Nigeria was holding indirect talks with the rebel movement Boko Haram. Further reports emerged that “the group was ever ready to stop the bombings in the next four weeks only if the federal government would release all its arrested members as well as guarantee the security and safety of all members whose names would be given to the federal government through [a trusted mediator.” That trusted mediator was Dr. Ibrahim Datti Ahmed, president of the Supreme Council for Sharia in Nigeria. Then yesterday, in a major blow to the negotiations, Ahmed announced that he was withdrawing as mediator.
Some, of course, have said that talks were a non-starter no matter what. Reuters has pointed to rumored factionalization within Boko Haram as a reason why “it will be difficult to negotiate any ceasefire deal with all elements.” But Ahmed’s withdrawal points to an even more basic problem, which is the lack of even minimal trust between the relevant parties involved, and between them and the public.
Ahmed’s original involvement resulted, according to Leadership, from his credibility with Boko Haram and his simultaneous stature as an established Muslim leader. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find a full biography of Ahmed, but this excerpt points to the salient points in his background: