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Sultan seeks amnesty for Boko Haram members


The Sultan of Sokoto,  Alhaji  Muhammad Abubakar III, on Tuesday  asked President Goodluck Jonathan to grant members of the  Islamist  militant group, Boko Haram ,  “total amnesty” for the sake of  peace in the country.

Abubakar, who by his position as  Sultan,  is the spiritual head of Nigerian Muslims, argued that a presidential amnesty to even one member of the sect, could make  others to lay  down their arms for peace to reign in the nation.

Blaming the security challenges confronting the country  on  injustice “meted out to  the people,” he said the muslim community in Nigeria was concerned about the  spate of  bombings and killings by Boko Haram members, especially in the North.

Abubakar spoke at the meeting of the Central Council of the Jama’atu Nasril Islam  in Kaduna.

He  said as Jonathan  prepares to visit  Maiduguri, Borno State,  where the sect  has its root, he should consider  the amnesty option as  a surest way  to  make peace reign once again in the country.

 “Ours is to advise and we will continue advising the government. If they do what they are supposed to do, that would be fine,” he said, adding that one of the primary duties of government was to  ensure  the protection of the   citizenry.

But the  Christian Association of Nigeria flayed the call by the Sultan, saying it was an indication that he knows the members of Boko Haram.  “Maybe the Sultan knows the Boko Haram members. If  he  is seeking amnesty for  them,  it shows that he knows them, because you cannot  call  for amnesty for people you don’t know,” the General Secretary of CAN, Dr. Musa Asake, said.

Asake added, “All we have been asking is: who are these people? They are faceless people but if someone is calling for amnesty for them, it shows that such a person knows them and if he knows them and calling for amnesty, then there is a problem.

“If the Sultan knows the Boko Haram members, is he saying that Boko Haram members are fighting a just cause? Will they actually receive the amnesty wherever they are? Are they going to accept the amnesty since we don’t really know them? If we get answers  to  the above, CAN will be able to make further comment.”

Also, a CAN group in the North, operating under the aegis of “Tarayar Ekklisiyar Kristi A Nijeriya,” said  the Sultan’s  call should be treated with all seriousness.

The spokesperson  for the President of TEKAN, Mr. Sunny Oibe, said, “If these Boko Haram members are faceless and now the Sultan of Sokoto is suggesting amnesty for them, it therefore means that he knows the people all these while but has refused to come out and tell us the truth. So, we now know who the Boko Haram members are and the Federal Government should be able to take a decisive action against them.

“If he doesn’t know them, how can he call for amnesty? The government should descend on all those who have been shielding Boko Haram members but now coming out stylishly to demand amnesty. The Federal Government now knows them and they know what to do with them, instead of playing a hypocritical game.”

The Sultan had also at the meeting debunked  insinuations  in some quarters that leaders, especially religious leaders, were  not doing enough to halt the crises in the North and other parts of the country.

He claimed that religious leaders, especially Muslim leaders, had done well  and would  continue to call  on the government to be just in whatever they did.

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