ON THE ROAD OF DIALOGUE AND PEACE
Renowned rights activist Shehu Sani came out yesterday to declare the planned amnesty for members of the Boko Haram insurgency as a doomed exercise only set out to defraud the government of billions of naira.
In his words, “First, it is ill-intentioned because you cannot just declare amnesty for members of Boko Haram and expect them to join the next available bus from their bases and drive down to Abuja waiting to see Jonathan. That is a wishful thinking.”
He further went on to express his views on the terms of reference of a properly set up committee to look into dialogue and amnesty for the group; “When we have a ceasefire of about eight months, the committee will use the period to take stock of the victims of this violence, the orphans, the widows and the destruction that has been caused as well as the grievances and the victims on the part of members of the sect.”
While it is on record that Shehu Sani facilitated a meeting with Boko Haram and former President Obasanjo thus clearly showing his accessibility to the group and as such he is most likely an individual with relevant suggestions on this issue, one would also have to listen to what the leader of Boko Haram has to say about the planned amnesty talks.
According to Ibrahim Shekau, the sect leader, “We are surprise that today it is the Federal Government saying it will grant us amnesty. Oh God, is it we who will grant you amnesty or you are the one to grant us amnesty? What have we done? If there is room for forgiveness, we are not going to do it until God give us permission to do it. Have you forgotten your sin, have you forgotten what you have done to us in Plateau the state you called Jos,” he said
It is obvious that in as much as dialogue is likely the option on the table for now, there is still a huge disconnect with communication on both sides. However we as a nation have to maintain focus and manage this situation as best possible. Time is ticking.
Only recently, 4th April 2013, The Nigerian Youth League Governing Council stated, “ If Boko Haram is granted amnesty then all youths will go to war with the duly constituted authorities across the nation”.
Time is ticking, but only dialogue may bring peace on both sides.