Vanguard (Lagos)

19 May 2013

Nigeria: Rev Jesse Jackson Backs Amnesty for Boko Haram

Photo: Daily Trust
Nigeria/Niger Republic border

Renowned American Rights Activist, Rev. Jesse Jackson has thrown his weight behind the Federal Government decision to offer amnesty to Boko Haram sect.

He described the move as a deliberate step to end insecurity in the country.

According to him, the amnesty offer must be open and honored, and implemented to include economic restitution and inclusion of destroyed Christian and Muslim structures in affected Northern parts of the country.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, in an interview in Yenagoa said the amnesty being offered by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration must be made to work and the conditions fully honoured.

"The amnesty must involve the economic restitution, the jobs and the training. On the other hand, within the United States, when there was civil unrest, there was a kind of state of emergency. But I hope the country will soon get back away from the battle field and get to the negotiation table. In the end, it will be the bargaining table. It is not the battle field that wins victory. You can not battle forever."

"You can bargain and resolve the conflict in the North. That why I believe so much in non-violence. Non-violence does not mean fear but courage, thinking and it means the ability to figure it out and fight it out.

"You must have the ability to resolve conflict and not fight aggressively. It must not resolve into killing and being killed. You see, the United States was blessed five years ago when Barrack Obama became the President. Because America overcame, for the first time, a kind of ethnic tribalism. We choose a candidate whose values and vision transcended racial hidden agenda.

"We live our faith under the law. We need to have a strong bite of laws that will protect us against the violation of our democratic rights. And I can say to you that most of the struggle in the Niger Delta and the ones between Christian and Muslims in the North should be solved with fairer distribution of available resources.

"The amnesty being proposed in Nigeria is hoped to have included the rebuilding of mosques and churches destroyed by insurgents. It is a sign of goodwill that will promote coexistence. We must choose to coexist because we have learn to stay apart and the insurgency have given us a harder lesson to live better and together.

"I just wanted to live the matter to be deliberated as an internal matter by Nigerians. Nigerians have many religions like the Christians, Muslims, the Buddhists and others. This is what make Nigeria rich.

They are multi-religious and multi-cultural. It is also made up of many states and many resources. That is what makes the nation great and I hope everyone will appreciate the status of the country. And should,in our angry moments be part of the big family. I have seen some cases in America with such huge tensions as being witnessed by Nigeria. Some parts of America threatened to break away but Lincoln did allow it."

"He resisted succession. Just like the Biafrans some years ago. That was a resistance to succession. In 1960 during the Kenedy election, he had 110,000 votes less than his opponent, but there was tension, no threat of succession because they chooses the country more than their ambition.

"In 2000, Al Gore had more votes that Bush and after the count Bush won. Gore considered national interest above personal interest. Some of us makes the nation a greater sacrifice. Some make sacrifice with pains and emotions. The politicians spin Nigeria should make a greater sacrifice."

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