- Sultan’s Demand For Amnesty For Boko Haram Islamic Sect
The Middle Belt Youth Forum has noted with keen interest, the series of unfortunate utterances, campaigns and propaganda by some notable Northern leaders, including traditional and religious leaders who have continued to insist that members of the murderous islamic sect called Boko Haram be granted amnesty by the federal government.
One of such is the recent call by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Sa,ad III. At the opening ceremony of the annual general meeting of the JNI in Kaduna, the Sultan was widely reported by the media to have urged President Goodluck Jonathan to “immediately grant amnesty to all members of Boko Haram…” as a pre-condition for peace in Nigeria.
We view this call by the Sultan as very unfortunate, outrageous and particularly insensitive to the plight and sensibilities of the numerous families of the victims of Boko haram’s atrocities; where thousands of innocent, defenseless and law-abiding people have been maimed or brutally massacred with utmost barbarism, and their homes, businesses and places of worship destroyed by the Islamic terrorist sect with impunity.
For the avoidance of doubt we wish to categorically state the following:
1. That we are not in anyway surprised by the Sultan’s call for amnesty. Judging from the consistent pressure mounted on President Goodluck Jonathan by some Northern cabal to either frustrate any attempt to label boko haram as a terrorist organization, or to force government to negotiate with them, compensate them or grant them outright amnesty. These agitations has always given us a clue as to who the sponsors of these terror groups are, otherwise how could anyone begin to call for ” immediate amnesty” for a group that has maimed and killed thousands of people, particularly Middle Belters and southerners resident in the North and doing their legitimate businesses for no just cause, with property worth billions of naira destroyed.
If it is true that the sultan actually demanded for immediate amnesty for the Boko Haram Islamic sect as was widely reported in the media, then it is now clear that the chicken has now come home to roost.
2. That the Sultan and other notable Northern leaders have continued to claim that Boko haram insurgency is a result of poverty and injustice is unacceptable excuse. The question here is, who is perpetrating the injustice? And against who? In any case, if at all there is injustice anywhere, then it is Boko haram and their sponsors that are unjustly killing and maiming innocent and defenseless people, destroying their homes, businesses and bombing them in their places of worship.
Again, talking about poverty, who made the North poor if we may ask? Is it president Goodluck Jonathan, southerners or Christians? Truth is, none of these! Sadly to note however, that the poverty in the North is caused by the Northerners themselves! If Northern leaders where truly passionate and committed to the cause and development of the North, poverty in the region would have been a thing of the past.
On the contrary however, since independence, the North has held more unto Power than the south, yet the region has remained poorer and less developed compared to the South.
Also, the startling revelations by Senator Ita Enang on the floor of the Senate during the debate on the PIB Bill exposed the insensitivity, hypocrisy and irresponsibility of Northern Leaders. Is it not a shame to discover that Northerners have cornered a whooping 83% of the oil wells of this country, yet no programs, scholarships or other efforts that are put in place to improve on the plight of the Northern masses. Except Gen. T.Y. Danjuma who has put in place a foundation for charity and has been involved in the development of education in Nigeria. It is sad to note that instead of applying their ill-gotten wealth to develop the North these selfish, thieving Northern leaders stash their wealth abroad and come back to apportion blames, blackmail government, brainwash and incite the poor masses whom they have left illiterate and in abject poverty to begin to kill and maim perceived enemies.
3. The Sultan must know that the North has been gravely wounded by the activities of these Islamic extremists, people are still counting their dead and treating their wounds. Time is running out and all the conspiracy theories will soon fail. The present North has got irreparable cracks that may be impossible to mend. It will be difficult for the middle belt to trust the core North any again. We call on the Sultan to expend his energy and use his exalted office to champion the cause of peace, justice and equity and fair play for all, irrespective region or religion.
4. We wish to commend Mr. President for rejecting amnesty for the faceless Boko Haram Islamic terror group and urged him to be firm and decisive in bringing an end to the murderous activities of the group.
The President must not give in to pressures or blackmail by some people including the sultan of sokoto and some Northern governors who have always explicitly or implicitly expressed sympathy or outright support for this group that has killed well over 5000 people in the last three years.
Lastly, it is our resolve to continue to sound it loud and clear that Nigeria remains a secular state with diverse cultures, tribes and religions that can only peacefully coexist through mutual respect and upholding the constitution of the land. We will resist any attempt by any group or individuals to do anything to the contrary. Enough of the impunity! Enough of the rascality! Enough of the conspiracy! Enough is enough.
Hon. Jonathan Asake
National Youth Leader, Middle Belt Youth Forum.