President Jonathan’s visit to Borno/Yobe has worsened Boko Haram crisis – ACN

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The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) said  President Goodluck Jonathan’s tactless show during his
belated visit to Borno and Yobe States last week has worsened the Boko Haram insurgency that has killed
and maimed hundreds of innocent people, especially  in the two states.
 
In a statement issued in Lagos on Monday by its  National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party
also said while the decision to grant amnesty to  any person or group is the prerogative of the government, the
argument advanced by the President for denying  amnesty to Boko Haram members is as illogical as it is puerile.
 
It said for a President who has unwisely stayed  away from the beleaguered part of the country for too long, last
week’s visit only succeeded in inflicting additional pain and insults on the victims of the insurgency, who could
have used a little dose of succour and empathy from  their leader.
 
”There is no doubt that there has been an upsurge  in attacks and killings since the President’s visit, with the
clashes between the JTF and the insurgents leaving  many dead, drive-by shooting in Kano claiming the lives of
innocent people and the unfortunate killing of  foreign hostages who were abducted last month in Bauchi.
 
”If this upsurge can be used as a barometer to measure the success or otherwise of the  President’s visit, then one
can only reach one conclusion: The visit is a total  failure!”  ACN said
 
The party also expressed shock at the way the  President, openly displaying anger when what was needed was
temperance, talked down on the people, who have suffered so much in the hands of Boko Haram, at his town
hall meetings
 
It said the misplaced anger of the nation’s number  one citizen, who virtually tongue-lashed the prominent citizens  who
spoke on behalf of their people at the town hall  meeting, can only attract sympathy for the insurgents among the
beleaguered population, thereby worsening the  crisis.
 
”The President wanted to appear tough in dealing with the Boko Haram insurgents. There is no problem with that,
except that he directed his anger at the wrong people, the same people who have been victimized by Boko Haram.
This is called double whammy,” the party said.
 
On the President’s argument that amnesty cannot be  granted to ”ghosts”, ACN said he simply missed the mark.
 
”If the President claims that Boko Haram members  are ghosts, who then are the members of Boko Haram that the JTF
regularly claims to have arrested or killed? Does  it mean the 52 Boko Haram members that the JTF claimed to have
killed, in its latest press release dated March 9th  2013, are actually ghosts?
 
”What about the Boko Haram members that are being tried in court? Could the government have been  trying ghosts?
And what about those Boko Haram members who were declared wanted last year? Are they also  ghosts? Also, the
government’s spokesmen have said publicly that the  government is talking with Boko Haram through back-channels.
So the Jonathan Administration has indeed been  talking to ghosts?
 
”Mr. President, there is nowhere in the world  where insurgents have erected a headquarters building and put up a sign
to say ‘we are insurgents, come and get  us.’ By their nature, insurgents don’t engage in  a march past, displaying their
weapons. That is why intermediaries are used to  reach out to them,” the party said.
 
ACN said while it strongly condemns the Boko Haram  insurgents, their senseless killing of innocent people and attacks
on the security agents, it believes that the use  of force is not the only option open to the  government to end the crisis.
 
Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN)
Lagos, March 11th 2013

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