Reiterating his earlier declaration, he emphasised: “Let me use
this opportunity on behalf of the Federal Government, to call on
the members of the Boko Haram sect to embrace the government’s
gesture and key to amnesty programme.”
To all intent and purpose, every line of that statement
by the minister on behalf of the federal government was
denied by Reuben Abati. How low can an administration
sink when it thrives on falsehood and deceit? How can a
government continue to speak with discordant tune on a
critical issue like national security that requires a
clear and emphatic position? Who is fooling who? When
will this government show some responsibility, sincerity
of purpose, courage, seriousness and true leadership to
begin to actually lead? How is the citizenry expected to
support the fight against terrorism when the government
does not even know what it wants? We know that should
Abubakar Shekau (Boko Haram leader) contact Mr.
President this very moment requesting for amnesty, this
administration will grant it. What is the implication of
this for the ongoing fight against the insurgents? Is
this how we will immortalise our armed forces for the
sacrifice and ultimate price they are paying in
Nigeria's north east? Is this how we will honour the
many innocent men, women and children Boko Haram has
visited with untimely death?
Government deliberately made plans for such declaration
not to come from Mr. President to create the impression
that he remains ruthless in his stand against the
The greatest disservice we can do to the lives that are
being lost to the Haramite’s machetes, guns and bombs,
is to, in one fell swoop, blot away their atrocities and
reward them with billions, turning Shekau and his Amirs
– as he calls his generals – to the latest Tompolos,
Boyloafs, Ateke Toms and Asari-Dokubos in town who now
waltz the corridors of power.
The proclamation of amnesty is nothing new. For as much
as we know, since last year, the government's amnesty
offer has been on the table. Any attempt to declare
amnesty for the vicious group now or in the nearest
future will throw up more questions than answers like:
When did Boko Haram request for amnesty? Why is the
President offering what wasn't requested even in the
face of escalating bloodshed? Does he want to feign
ignorance that the Islamist sect bluntly rejected his
first amnesty offer? What makes him think they have
changed their stance? Has the Commander-In-Chief lost
confidence in the ability of the Nigerian security
operatives to effectively wipe out the fundamentalists?
Who are the sponsors of this terror groups in Nigeria?
Why is it taking so long for the government to expose
them? Or are they bigger than the country?
The emptiness and indiscretion of that pronouncement by
Mr Haruna was laid bare as the government had hitherto
made an offer of amnesty to the terrorists through the
Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful
Resolution of Conflict in the North Eastern part of
Nigeria. Their offer of amnesty is still on the table.
So why declare amnesty again for Boko Haram when they
spat on the face of the government by stating
unequivocally and categorically that they don’t need
amnesty but the government should instead, plead for
amnesty from them. The government still doesn’t get it
that these terrorists don’t flinch at the thought of
getting billions from government as amnesty package.
In a desperate and clumsy bid to bring the terrorists to
the negotiation table, the government is offering
amnesty to faceless people - ghosts. Such ignominious
gesture is tantamount to ‘radicalising’ the youths
across the country to think that the way to get
government's attention is to pick up arms against the
state. We say no, to all forms of bestiality of our
youths, which this amnesty charade is all about. It
defies every logic and rationale that the FG even
contemplated amnesty to faceless terrorists, mindless
killers and maniacs that have sent over 15,000 Nigerians
to their graves since their Jihad began. More than 4,000
of that figure have being killed this year alone.
It is foolhardy to think amnesty can de-radicalise a
terrorist. To the Jihadists, terrorism is a way of life
they've come to know, a new religion and message that
they are ready to die for while forcefully propagating.
Granting amnesty to Boko Haram is yet another indication
that the Jonathan government is at crossroads. Besides,
there is more politics in this amnesty charade than
meets the eye. The religious radicals have a warped
ideology that everything about Western Education is
forbidden. How then, can government, in the name of
amnesty, send Shekau for instance, to study Aeronautic
Engineering in United Kingdom or Medical Science in
Australia in the guise of rehabilitation for
integration? I don’t think the FG has thought this
through. Amnesty or any such thing can never completely
dissect this tumor out of the northern community.
Moreover, calling on Boko Haram members to
unconditionally renounce their evil acts and embrace
peace and days later denying that such a call was never
made must have heightened the curiosity and skepticism
of the Islamist group over the (in)sincerity of the
government to any peace deal.
Dr. Jonathan, it appears, wants to exploit the window
that the prisoners swap for abducted Chibok schoolgirls
present to negotiate an armistice with the dreaded sect.
Their demand over the Chibok girls should not be
misconstrued as amnesty.
Sadly and expectedly, the present administration has
failed to take responsibility for the welfare of
soldiers who daily put their lives in harm's way in the
war against terror. Nothing has been done to
rehabilitate the victims of Boko Haram bombings, no one
talks about taking responsibility for the bereaved
families of our gallant fallen heroes in the frontlines,
and no one ensures that owners of properties destroyed
are adequately compensated.
Before now, the government’s position was to crush the
marauders with military might but the war is now beyond
the capability and capacity of the Nigerian security
operatives. Though, the posture of FG signifies the
carrot and stick approach as its strategy, it is now
glaring to every discerning observer that only the
‘carrot’ approach is now the Jonathan administration’s
That the President has buckled yet again shows the FG
lacks courage, political will, 21st century military
equipment, personnel and intelligence to challenge and
discomfit the salafist sect headlong. Begging
terrorists cap in hand is tantamount to resigning to
fate and handing the initiative of the terror war to the
monsters. They’re now in a position of strength. This is
indeed, the impetus they need to overrun the troubled
states. God forbid.
Apparently, we lived in self-denial that our security
operatives were up to the task, or underestimated the
capacity of the enemies to wage a potent, sustained
campaign against the state.
Rewarding terrorism, militancy and all forms of
hooliganism, cultism and brigandage are sure fire
highways to an irrevocable descent to a failed nation.
There are handwritings on the wall that Nigeria is on
the road to Yugoslavia, Somalia or Syria.
Victims of the insurgency will not be impressed. And
such victims are many: immediate and long-term victims,
direct and indirect victims, individual and co-operate
victims. Even the terrorists are not impressed; they
want a war with the Nigerian military. They cherish a
quick pathway to meet ‘Allah’ should they be killed in
Amnesty to the Haramites is the greatest disservice to
the lives lost to the insurgency, while it takes the
assault on the collective psyche of Nigerians to
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