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Boko Haram: CAN’s Press Statement on Sultan’s call for Amnesty

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> Abuja, March 6, 2013
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> The Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN is surprised and puzzled by the statement credited to the Sultan of Sokoto and President-General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar 111 that the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram should be granted “total amnesty” for the sake of peace in Nigeria and that “the bottom line of the problem facing us has been injustice meted out to people who are not supposed to”.
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>  We wonder what the Sultan meant by injustice in relation to the activities of the Boko Haram sect when members of the group are a bunch of fundamentalists who have killed, maimed, deformed Christians and made orphans and widows of otherwise peaceful and lovely families and who have also displaced people, destroyed businesses and livelihoods in their thousands. Would the Sultan sincerely attribute the perpetration of the injustice to Christians?
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>  If it is injustice, is it not government that should be held accountable? Why would the sect not hold their representatives at the various tiers of government responsible? The Sultan should be told that we have since found out that the attacks are primarily targeted at Christians and their Churches. Who then is suffering injustice? Who needs justice? Christians or those killing and bombing Churches?
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> The injustice to Christians killed, maimed and rendered helpless by the sect is underscored by the payment of the sum of N100 million to the late sect leader’s family by the Borno State government without any assistance to any of the Christian victims of Boko Haram. Who is going to compensate the families of the victims of the sect? Where is the justice to these Christian victims?
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> It is worth reminding the Sultan at this juncture that a few days ago, Shekau, the leader of Boko Haram appeared in a video, claiming responsibility for all the violence, including the ones allegedly committed by suspected criminals and denying any relationship with Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdulazeez, the man who has repeatedly claimed to be Shekarau’s second in command who announced ceasefire. Shekau had said: “….we have seen how our members who were out on holy mission are being attacked and killed…what we are doing now is what is prescribed for us by Allah and his holy prophets. We are workers in the vineyard of Allah”.
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>  Clearly, Shekau, the Boko Haram leader has never talked of injustice. He has been unremorsefully insistent on the fact that they will not relent until Nigeria is made an Islamic nation. We need to also remind the Sultan and others on the same page with him that terrorism is not about justice. It is about ideology. In this case, Boko Haram is founded on the premise of extreme Islamic ideology. It is therefore mischievous for those who understand this to hoodwink the President into actions that would be futile in the end.
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> We believe that for the talk about amnesty to hold water, the Islamist militant group must first of all renounce their extreme ideology and embrace the ceasefire plan. What President Goodluck Jonathan should do is to first of all give the sect members a deadline within which they should organize a ceasefire, failing which the sect members should be confronted vigorously, in line with what was done to the Niger Delta Militants who refused the amnesty offered by late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua. Otherwise, how can government grant amnesty to faceless people?
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> We wonder the kind of amnesty contemplated by the Sultan. This is why we are puzzled. We therefore say categorically that we reject any offer of amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect. We ask government to do same. One group of people cannot continue to pay the price for one Nigeria. We must sit together as brothers and discuss issues.
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> God bless Nigeria
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> Dr. Musa Asake, General Secretary

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