Youths Development Minister Boni Haruna has come under fire for proclaiming that President Goodluck Jonathan has declared amnesty for Boko Haram insurgents.
The minister had said on at special Democracy Day programme that Jonathan had declared amnesty for the insurgents as part of the integration programmes lined up for them.
“President Goodluck Jonathan has also declared amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect. Series of integration programmes have been lined up for the members of the sect who would surrender their arms and embrace peace. Let me use this opportunity, on behalf of the Federal Government, to call on the members of the Boko Haram sect to embrace the government’s gesture and key into amnesty programme”, Haruna.
Our correspondent reports that Jonathan was present at the event and did not dispute the minister’s disclosure on the declaration of amnesty for the sect.
But yesterday, the Presidency disowned the minister for disclosing that Jonathan had declared amnesty for the sect, wondering where he got such information from.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, in an interview with State House journalists, said Jonathan did not mention the word ‘amnesty’ in his democracy day broadcast.
The presidential spokesman said the president only spoke about those willing to renounce terrorism and embrace peace.
He said Jonathan had already created opportunities for insurgents through the Presidential Fact-finding Committee and the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolutions of Conflict in the North East”.
“Let me refer you to the speech by the president. If you read the speech line by line, you would see that it contains the very message that the president wanted to put across, and in that speech, if you look at it, I don’t think the president used amnesty. Instead, he (Jonathan) spoke about those who are willing to renounce terrorism, those who are willing to embrace.
“Opportunities have been created for them (the insurgents) through the fact-finding committee and through the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolutions of Conflict in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. So, I will refer you basically to the speech by the president”, Abati said.
He said Jonathan and other ECOWAS Heads of States and Governments had at their extra-ordinary session held in Ghana Friday concluded that any threat of terror in any part of Africa or any part of West Africa is a threat to the entire sub-region, the continent and the whole of humanity.
He said the summit pledged solidarity to Nigeria and resolved that member states share intelligence and cooperate in every way possible to ensure stability and sustainable development within the region.
Abati said the summit unanimously condemned terrorist activities in Nigeria and resolved that “whatever happens in Nigeria, Mali, Guinea Bissau or any other West African country is a country of everybody in west Africa because we share the same ideal”.