Nigeria: Boko Haram &Amnesty Deal?

Although President Goodluck Jonathan presided over the security meeting he summoned last Thursday to consider the merit or otherwise of granting amnesty to Boko Haram members, the brainstorming session was principally between his ministers and the security chiefs.

After several hours of debating the issue, the ministers who attended the event allegedly carried the day as the president accepted their suggestions that the Federal Government should extend amnesty to the insurgents.

Sources close to participants said political consideration basically informed the president's decision to accept the minister's position that dialogue backed by amnesty for the terrorists should be adopted since military might had failed to produce the desired results.

The meeting was attended by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki, the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Azubuike Ihejirika, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Alex Sabundu Badeh, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Abubakar.

Others were the Director-General of the State Security Services (SSS), Ekpenyong Ita, Director, Military Intelligent (DMI), Brig-Gen. Letam Wiwa, DG, Nigerian Intelligent Agency (NIA), Maj-Gen. S.Y Audu, the ministers of State for Defence, Interior and Police Affairs.

At the end of the meeting that lasted for several hours, the amnesty committee was given a term of reference, which it has two weeks to submit its reports.

Reliable security sources said the meeting was the longest ever in recent time because of the reservations expressed by the service chiefs on the proposed amnesty.

They said but for the ministers who argued for the need to consider the option to convince the critics of president was not insensitive to the agitations of the people, especially some prominent Nigerians, the use of force against the insurgents might have continued.

"The meeting lasted over three hours because of the sensitive nature of the security matter under focus and perhaps because of the reservations the service and other security chiefs expressed on the move.

Their position was on the danger of adopting the amnesty option when the Boko Haram sect members remained unknown.

They cited the recent dialogue proposed by some of them but which was dismissed by another faction.

They faulted the argument of those that are comparing the sect with the Niger Delta militants and cited the religious coloration of the sect.

Their position was made known by the CDS before others fell in line," one of the sources asserted.

Another source said that one of the ministers drew the meeting's attention to the danger of inconsistency of public policy and the more grave position of ignoring notable Nigerians like former head of state, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa'ad Abubakar III and Catholic Archbishop, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, who had endorsed amnesty for the gunmen.

Meanwhile, Northern States Governors Forum (NSGF) has lauded President Goodluck Jonathan for setting up a committee to consider proposals for granting amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect.

Chairman of the forum and Governor of Niger State, Dr. Mu'azuBabangidaAliyu, said yesterday that the decision of President Jonathan to dialogue with members of the sect underscores the resolve of the PDP-led government to restore peace in the region, saying a peaceful atmosphere would reinvigorate the region's development.

He said "state governors, traditional rulers, the clergy – Christian and Islamic – academics, retired military men, businessmen and former public officers to should form part of the current effort at fashioning out strategies to address the disturbing state of insecurity and to proffer practical and enduring solutions to the insecurity in the region."

The security meeting was said to have reviewed the force option and the successes recorded so far and noted the recent bombings in Kano, Jos and Maiduguri which was regarded as "a reaction to the military onslaught in Mali where the Muslim extremists were at the receiving end of the military assault."

They noted that once the war in Mali was over, those that go there for training would have no choice but to give up.

President Jonathan reportedly urged the security chiefs to accept the amnesty option without necessarily dropping the force option "because not all of them would accept amnesty and then we would be justified and those that are calling for it would be proved wrong."

Insurgents Deserve Amnesty – TuraiYar'Adua Tells Jonathan

Former first lady, HajiyaTuraiYar'Adua has called on President Jonathan to follow the footsteps of her husband, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, by granting amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect.

She made the appeal on Friday night when she received a posthumous award from the Niger Delta Young Professionals for her late husband in recognition of his contributions to the restoration of to peace in the Niger Delta at the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos.

"I want my brother (Jonathan) to sit and think carefully and grant amnesty to BokoHaram.I am expecting my brother to do what Umaru did for the militants in the Niger Delta

Source- Leadership

Author: nmmin

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