Governor Isah Yuguda of Bauchi State has assured that “real Boko Haram members” will accept the amnesty offered by the federal government.
He declared, however, that it is the responsibility of the government to deal with criminal and political members of the Boko Haram sect when the real members accept the amnesty proposed by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Yuguda, who spoke with editors in Lagos on Saturday night, said that the real members of the sect who have various problems agitating their minds “have accepted and will accept the amnesty, which the president is proposing”.
The governor, who said there was a serious need to look into the issues that prompted the sect’s activities such as joblessness and illiteracy, noted that those who are kicking against the amnesty package are the criminals and the politically motivated among the members.
He also spoke on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), boasting that the party would win 35 out of the 36 states of the federation in 2015.
Yuguda also denied any crisis existed among the governors in their forum but instead explained that the PDP Governors’ Forum was necessary to discuss matters arising from the PDP manifesto.
Still on Boko Haram, the governor said that there was no true Muslim that would pick up weapons and kill a fellow man.
Nonetheless, he made it clear that there exist criminal elements among the sect, adding that it was left for the government to deal with them after the package has been accepted by the real sect members.
Said the governor: “Amnesty has been given to the real Boko Haram and I believe they are willing to accept that. That is my belief, but you know there is the criminal Boko Haram and there is the real Boko Haram. But the criminal and the political Boko Haram are the armed robbers and that arm of politicians that call themselves Boko Haram and they go about attacking people.
“Maybe, it is the criminal Boko Haram members that are responding to say that they don’t want amnesty because they have a different intention. Some of them are gunrunners, some of them are armed robbers and some of them are doing that on behalf of politicians. So, they just hide under Boko Haram and perpetrate evil.
“For those that are actually Boko Haram, I would want to believe that there is something that is agitating their minds, not about killing human beings but probably there are certain things that have agitated their minds –probably joblessness. I understand some of them are university graduates — 15 years, no job.
“Now that the president has extended that olive branch to them, I would like to believe that they are quite happy. There has to be an end to all these. Once they have accepted, we know that we have to face the criminals. Any other person that is calling himself Boko Haram, we know they are the armed robbers and the political Boko Haram. You have to understand this. Boko in Hausa is “learning in English”, including learning rocket science, medicine, biology, Chemistry, Hausa, Yoruba – anything learnt in English characters. But if you learn rocket science in Arabic, is it Boko too?”
The governor contended that it was wrong to refer to Boko Haram as a religious sect or Islamic sect. Rather, he said, there is a serious need to look at the sect and find out what the agitation was all about. He stressed that neither Islam nor Christianity permits its adherents to kill.
According to him, “I become really worried when I read about mayhem, insecurity and all that in Bauchi. What is all this? I am telling you that the crimes committed in one city in any of these developed countries are more than that committed in Nigeria. Way back in 1999, the budget for security alone was in the region of about $30b. I am telling you that in one city alone…
“If you read the Bible from the beginning to the end, there is nowhere it says go and kill for God. Even the Bible says if you are slapped on the left, you turn the other cheek. What is the justification for the killing of people? Certainly not from the Bible! As for you being a Muslim, you cannot be a Muslim without believing in the Bible. In the Quoran, Jesus is Isah, the son of Mary. You must believe in his mother and believe that he was given birth to by the power of the Holy Spirit. You must believe in the Bible, even though there are minor variations — that which relates to the crucifixion and the Trinity…
“For any Muslim or Christian who picks up a weapon and says I want to kill, that man is a criminal. He is not a Muslim, he is not a Christian. And the earlier you start preaching this philosophy, the better for all of us. We must find a reason for the killing. It is either poverty, tribal or you look for the reason. It is not religious.”
On the crisis rocking the PDP, Yuguda said that the party would come out stronger and win more states in the 2015 election.
There is no crisis in the party that cannot be resolved, he said.
“PDP is going to win 35 out of the 36 states of the federation come 2015… We are winning in Lagos.”
On the PDP Governors’ Forum, he said: “It is not a crisis. Formation of association is provided for in the constitution. Today, the opposition parties formed an association and they call themselves APC. If PDP governors feel that there are certain things that are exclusive to them as PDP governors, in the PDP manifesto, that they need to discuss and try as much as possible to make sure that they implement the programmes and manifesto, we should do that. But the Governors’ Forum is Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum.
“I had the privilege of going to the annual general meeting of the American Governors’ Forum. PDP has its own interest to unite and discuss our own problems.”