Prominent groups and leaders from the northern part of the country have warned President Muhammadu Buhari against swapping Boko Haram prisoners for the abducted schoolgirls.
The northerners said it would be unwise for the federal government to grant the insurgents their request.
They were reacting to the recent announcement by the President that the Federal Government had begun negotiations with members of Boko Haram to secure the release of the schoolgirls kidnapped from Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State on April 14, 2014.
Buhari also disclosed that the sect had offered to swap the girls for its Improvised Explosives Devices expert, who is in the government?s custody.
However, Deputy Chairman of the Northern Elders? Forum, Dr. Paul Unongo, while welcoming the negotiation, said every war does not end on the battlefield.
He told Punch, ?The first issue is, yes, there is negotiation. The second issue is that Boko Haram insurgents have said they will bring back the Chibok girls if we release their bomb maker that has taken the lives of hundreds of Nigerians.
?I think as much as we desire that the girls be released, for the government to release a person that has the capacity to produce something that can take the lives of thousands of Nigerians, we are a bit worried.
?The dilemma is, we want the Chibok girls to be released and Boko Haram is driving a major negotiating strategy. It seems they (insurgents) have got our balls and they are squeezing the balls, saying ?if we don?t do it, we will squeeze it more?.
?While we are negotiating, we should intensify the battle and make it so uncomfortable for the insurgents that the possibility of them being allowed to speak first is removed.
?I think I will rather use that strategy than release a bomb maker who has killed thousands of Nigerians. The man who can make a bomb and with his capacity (to cause destruction), I don?t think we should let him off the hook so easily,? he added.
On his part, Chairman of the rival Northern Elders? Council, Tanko Yakasai, said dialogue was the only solution to the insurgency.
He also said President Buhari had yet to agree to the swap offer made by Boko Haram. He also expressed his reservation with releasing the bomb maker for the release of the girls.
Yakasai said, ?The President himself did not say he was going to do that. If he is going to release the expert in bomb making, what guarantee has he that when that man is released he will not go and make more bombs that would kill more people??
Relatively, Convener, Coalition of Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, stated that Buhari had not said he agreed with the swap offer.
He said the President only told the public what Boko Haram had offered in the negotiation.
?Buhari has not accepted that offer,? he stated.