Vanguard (Lagos)

29 March 2013

Nigeria: Abdulsalami Backs Amnesty for Boko Haram Sect

New York — Nigeria's former Military Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar on Thursday joined other Nigerians to seek amnesty for members of the Islamic militant group, Boko Haram.

"Anything that can bring peace in the country to the people needs to be studied and to see the merit and demerit of such an action.

"Yes there are a lot of people for and against Boko Haram; we should situate our position to the people who are getting the blunt of all these activities.

"People are made homeless; they are made orphans; they are widows; so if amnesty to this people will bring peace and bring succour to our country, why not," Abubakar said.

He spoke with the North America Correspondent of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) at the African Union secretariat in New York.

It was at an event where the AU High Level implementation Panel (AUHIP) on Sudan and South Sudan briefed envoys within the continent on the progress made by the panel.

Since 2009, series of attacks by the violent sect left 100s of people dead and several property destroyed.

On the democratic institution, the former military leader appealed to politicians in the country to be more broad-minded and to be truthful and provide services to the nation.

"The problem we are having right now is the problem of development, but it is very sad it's happening.

"But I believed this is an issue that we can overcome if all Nigerians unite to ensure that we fight this cankerworm that is bedevilling our country," Abubakar noted.

According to him, there is no country in the world that has not got any problem the way it plays its democracy. It is a matter of learning and doing the right thing.

"What is Democracy? Democracy is government of the people for the people by the people and in the process there are pitfalls here and there," he noted.

Commenting on the African Union High Level Implementation Panel on Sudan, Abubakar said the panel's assignment was essentially to intervene and bring peace between the two countries of Sudan.

"It is in this context that we came to interact with the UN Security Council and in the process we met with the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, and discussed the way forward for Sudan.

"The two Sudan have signed about nine agreements and they are being implemented. The most important one is the resumption of the production of oil through the Northern Sudan, he said.

He also hailed the security arrangement whereby the two Sudan had withdrawn their forces from the zero line to their own part of the country.

NAN

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