"No amnesty for Boko Haram" - Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said the Federal Government would not grant amnesty to members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.

Jonathan who spoke at a Town Hall meeting in Damaturu, during his official visit to Yobe State, said members of Boko Haram, by their mode of operation, deserved no amnesty in the manner of Niger Delta militants.

The President’s declaration was an apparent response to Tuesday’s call by Sultan Saad Abubakar III of Sokoto for “total amnesty” for members of the sect in order to promote 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.

But the President said he could not grant amnesty to “ghosts.”

Jonathan 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.

“Some of these names you hear, Asari Dokubo, Ateke Tom, when I was a deputy governor, I went to a meeting with President Olusegun Obasanjo and I saw Asari and Tom in the Presidential Villa.

“That was the first time I saw them; I had never seen them before, I did not even know them and I was the deputy governor of Bayelsa State, one of their hotbeds. It was in the villa that I met them first during a meeting with the President.

“What I am saying is that in the Niger Delta case, if you call them, they will come and tell you their grievances, rightly or wrongly. They will be there to tell you ‘this is what we want, this is why we are doing this.’

“But in the case of the Boko Haram, you don’t see anybody who will say he is a Boko Haram member, so we cannot declare amnesty.

“For us to declare amnesty, we must be communicating with people. We cannot declare amnesty for people that are operating under a veil.

“We can’t even discuss amnesty issue, let them come and tell us their problems and let’s see how we can solve the problem.”

The call for amnesty by Sultan Abubakar had been greeted with opposition from the various groups in the country as well as the Christian Association of Nigeria. The Yoruba pan-organisation, Afenifere, said the call was outrageous.

be sociable, share...