Sunday, 25 March 2018

Afenifere, Ohanaeze, Arewa Consultative Forum react to Buhari’s amnesty offer to Boko Haram members

Yoruba, Igbo and Northern socio-political organisations Afenifere, Ohanaeze and Arewa Consultative Forum have reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s proposed amnesty for the Boko Haram sect.

While Afenifere and Ohanaeze condemned the move, Arewa Consultative Forum backed the President's proposal.

Afenifere and Ohanaeze, in separate interviews with Punch, described the move as an act of irresponsibility.

The Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, said: “Giving amnesty to members of the Boko Haram is the height of impunity, insensitivity and audacious insult to the collective memory of thousands of Nigerians who were callously killed by Boko Haram.

National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Uche Achi-Okpaga, wondered why the Federal Government would grant amnesty to a sect that had killed thousands of Nigerians after deploying the Army against the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.

Okpaga said: “I would not bother to go into the merits, or otherwise, of the decision. However, if the government could negotiate with a world-acclaimed terrorist group like Boko Haram and grant its members amnesty, after deploying soldiers with armoured tanks against IPOB, then where is the justification?

“This is a clear case of double standards. This is a Nigerian version of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, where some animals suddenly became more equal than others.

“Our political and legal architectural foundations have been distorted.”​

However, National Publicity Secretary of ACF, Alhaji Muhammad Biu, told reporters that nothing was wrong with the decision.

According to the ACF, such measure was adopted by the previous government to curb the restiveness in the Niger Delta region.

The ACF said, “The offer of unconditional amnesty by the Federal Government to Boko Haram terrorists or any other groups who surrender their arms, denounce their militancy and then pledge their loyalty to the government is a welcome development, considering the insecurity posed by insurgency in the last nine years.

“It will be recalled that the Biafran rebels and Niger Delta militants, who denounced their rebellion and militancy against the state, were not only granted amnesty but also empowered with skills and re-integrated into society to contribute to its socio-economic development.

“The ACF, therefore, urges the insurgents and other militia groups to lay down their arms and embrace the Federal Government’s offer of amnesty as the only means to peaceful coexistence and development.

“This will also pave the way for Nigeria to pursue order, justice, liberty, peace and prosperity for all.”​

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