Boko Haram and Niger Delta militants aren’t the same – Presidency rejects plea for Boko Haram amnesty
by Rachel Ogbu
The Presidency has reacted to the increasing call for amnesty for Boko Haram by top political figures in the country.
On Monday, the Presidency reportedly said that those pushing for the amnesty were politicising the issue.
In a press statement from Abuja, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, said that President Goodluck Jonathan had insisted granting amnesty to Boko Haram was out of the question.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, former Lagos state governor, Bola Tinubu, former Federal Capital Territory Minister, Nasir El-Rufai and an ex-Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, had urged the Federal Government to consider the Boko Haram amnesty.
“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,” Okupe said on behalf of the Presidency.
Okupe, said the supporters of an amnesty for the violent Islamic sect should learn from how the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta was brokered.
The Punch reports:
According to Okupe, 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.