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Presidency berates promoters of amnesty for Boko Haram


The Presidency on Monday hit back at the proponents of amnesty for the Boko Haram sect, saying they were politicising the issue.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, made this known in a statement in Abuja.

President Goodluck Jonathan had,  during a visit to Yobe State a few weeks ago, said the Federal Government could not grant amnesty to the militant Islamic sect.

He had said, “We cannot declare amnesty for Boko Haram because we cannot declare amnesty for ghosts. You cannot liken Boko Haram to what happened in the Niger Delta.”

Before the President made the statement, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, had urged the Federal Government to grant Boko Haram total amnesty.

Some prominent Nigerians, including a former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai and an ex-Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, faulted the President.

Ribadu spoke on Saturday on Liberty FM, Kaduna.  He said, “Jonathan was wrong to have said that he will not grant amnesty to Boko Haram; he should not fail to protect the people and when people call saying ‘we are tired; we are down’ even if it means to dialogue and have a solution to the whole process, he should opt for such.”

But Okupe, in a statement on Monday said the proponents of the call should learn from how the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta was brokered.

According to him, proponents of amnesty for Boko Haram should initiate contacts with its leaders and convince them to dialogue with government.

Okupe said Jonathan had nothing to gain from the prolongation of the wanton destruction of life and property by members of the sect.

He said leaders of thought in the affected states should prevail on the leadership of the sect to abandon “their destructive pursuit and embrace dialogue”, like the militants in the Niger Delta did before amnesty was granted.

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