6 April 2013

Nigeria: Amnesty to Boko Haram - Politicians Hail FG

Mixed reactions have continued to trail the Federal Government's inauguration of a committee to consider amnesty for the Boko Haram sect, with some politicians lauding the move, while others faulted it.

The Federal Government on Thursday set up a committee to look at the feasibility or otherwise of granting amnesty to the Islamic fundamentalist group, Boko Haram.

Reacting to the development on Saturday, Alhaji Musa Umar, the former Deputy National Chairman of the de-registered Alliance for Democracy (AD), said the decision was welcome.

According to him, any hope of peace at this moment is worth pursuing.

"The Boko Haram once accused the Federal Government of insincerity on the issue of dialogue, even when they were ready for honest talks.

"The Federal Government should encourage them to come out and talk. I believe this will work because it is always very difficult to defeat an invisible enemy," he said.

Also, Mallam Yusuf Buba, the National Chairman of the de-registered Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD), said that the decision was understandable and welcome.

"Nigerians had initially opposed the granting of amnesty to Boko Haram because all the while no body openly came out to identify with the militant group.

"Now that groups like the Northern Elders Forum and the Sultan of Sokoto have come out to seek amnesty for the group, the president's change of mind is understandable and welcome," he said.

Mr Godfrey Lemchi, the Lagos State Chairman of the de-registered African Democratic Congress (ADC), however, described the decision as absurd.

"It is the first time in a civilised world that it is heard that unrepentant terrorists are being considered for amnesty.

"The implication of considering giving amnesty is that any group or tribe, for any obnoxious reason, can kill thousands of Nigerians," he said.

In his comment, Bishop Gabriel Omoruyi, spokesman, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)-- Lagos State chapter-- queried why the Federal Government should grant amnesty to a group which had wasted so many human lives.

Omoruyi said that the idea was not in the best interest of the nation.

"I want to believe Jonathan is doing this because of his ambition to contest in 2015.

"The Federal Government's move is an unpopular one," he said.

The cleric said that granting amnesty to Boko Haram would only instigate youths from other zones to take up arms whenever they felt aggrieved.

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