That Boko Haram Controversial Amnesty


The agitation by the northern leaders to the Federal Government of Nigeria in granting amnesty to the dreaded Boko Haram Islamic sect has yielded result on the part of the lobbyists. But it is astonishing in the first instance to see the sect rejecting the offer of amnesty. The dangerous attacks of Boko Haram have led to the death of thousands of Nigerians including foreigners. The prime target of the sect attacks are Christian churches in the north.

Today the unknown gun men attacks in the north are as a result of Boko Haram uncontrollable activities. The Islamic sect has been said to be the off shoot of al-Qaeda network an international Islamic terrorist organization. The argument is that the sect is blaming the Federal Government of Nigeria for being responsible for the killings of innocent Nigerians. An assertion that is difficult to believe in Nigeria considering the havoc Boko Haram has wrecked in this country. Boko Haram does not have any moral ground to berate the Federal Government for all it heinous crimes against armless and innocent Nigerians who are being killed by the sect everyday. It is worthy to note that many Nigerians aggrieved are not happy with the granting amnesty to the sect by the Federal Government. It is sad to know that the process of granting amnesty to the sect was not fully accomplished. There is no cease-fire.

Indeed, there is no regret or repentance on the part of Boko Haram for killing Nigerians. Amnesty is a decision by a government that allows political prisoners to be free; and it is a fixed period of time during which people are not punished for committing a particular crime. Boko Haram has committed crime against humanity and they need to bear the consequences of the criminal acts committed.

The sect has issued so many threats to the office of the President of Nigeria. And in all the threats the northern leaders or elders did not see the need to call Boko Haram to order or negotiate with them to stop the hostilities, but went ahead to seek for amnesty for those who do not deserve or deed it. No wonder Boko Haram has the temerity to accuse the Federal Government publicly of being the sole agent of .the unprecedented killings in the country. One wonders the act of desperation in granting amnesty to Boko Haram by the government.

Some aggrieved Nigerians are of the view that government should plan how to carter for victims of Boko Haram attacks instead of offering the sect amnesty in this critical moment in the history of Nigeria. Northern Leaders who influenced the Federal Government to accept the offer of amnesty for Boko Haram have not made any concrete or serious contact with the sect before approaching the government for such deal. It is pathetic to note the trickery in the face of danger. There is need for flash back, when the Federal Government was about granting amnesty for militants of the Niger Delta, their leaders had series of negotiations that led to successful amnesty. But the reverse is the case on the part Boko Haram sect. Up till date no Boko Haram leaders are in the company of northern leaders to Aso Rock for negotiation. And yet government is elated to set amnesty committee.

Indeed, Nigerians pray for a stop of the dangerous hostilities of Boko Haram. And the right approach must be taken to avoid a fatal flaw of the process. It is obvious that the sect do not see any reason to seek amnesty from the Federal Government. And that is why they keep on refuting every agreement reached by their presumed negotiators. On several occasions Boko Haram sect has denied having anything with government in terms of negotiations. Some schools of thoughts believe that the attacks are politically motivated while others believe is a jihad to Islamize Nigerian State. Well, in the face of all these conflicting predictions the sect has not sheathed the sword of attacks in the country.

The controversy surrounding the amnesty offer is yet to be demystified as there is no break through. The Northern leaders should do their home work properly before going to convince government for any amnesty. From the angle of public polls, the leaders on the negotiation move do not have access to the sect leaders. The religious leaders should be the real mediators championing the campaign of negotiation. The sultan of Sokoto should use his revered position as the head of the supreme council of Islamic affairs to broker peace deal with Boko Haram before amnesty is discussed. By the time the Islamic sect sit at negotiation table with the Northern leaders to discuss peace, the process of amnesty will be facilitated.

It is embarrassing seeing and hearing the refutal by Boko Haram of not having anything with amnesty deal. There is need for cease-fire to stop further hostilities in the north and other part of the country. The killings by unknown gun men have become a daily ritual. Whatever the attacks connote or denote should be halted for a smooth and transparent amnesty process. The whole world is watching the level of devastation caused by the incessant attacks by Boko Haram on Christians, churches and Muslims who have sympathy for Christians. Nigerians need peace and not killings and destruction of properties. Therefore Boko Haram should come out publicly and negotiate with the Federal Government of Nigeria, headed by President Goodluck Jonathan, for peace and tranquility to reign. ###

Frank Eneawaji Ogwuonuonu


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