The Bauchi State Governor Isa Yuguda saying that the real members of the Boko Haram Islamist sect would accept the offer of amnesty being proposed by the Federal Government.
Yuguda told journalists in Lagos on Sunday that the group which rejected the proposed government amnesty was the “criminal and political” Boko Haram used by some politicians to perpetrate evil.
He said, “The criminal Boko Haram faction is benefitting from their criminal activities, which is why they have rejected amnesty. Some of them are perpetrating their evils on behalf of politicians
“I believe the real Boko Haram may have genuine agitations, like joblessness. But once they accept the amnesty, we will face and fight the criminal ones.”
His submission coincided with the Federal Government’s insistence on going ahead to grant Boko Haram amnesty despite its rejection by the known leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau.
Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, on Sunday, had said, “The decision of the Federal Government to set up the committee to work out modalities to grant amnesty to members of the (Boko Haram) sect is on course.
“No pronouncement by any individual or group or an attempt to blackmail government will stop it. Government is serious about bringing this crisis to an end, and we are committed to this.”
It has been learnt that the committee set up by the government to consider the propriety or otherwise of granting amnesty to Boko Haram would submit its report this week. A source said the committee’s report would be submitted during another high-level security meeting with the President on Thursday or Friday this week.
Meanwhile, the Northern Speakers Forum, a body that unites heads of the house of assemblies in the 19 northern states, has commended the Federal Government on its amnesty committee for Boko Haram.
This was contained in a communiqué at the end of its two-day meeting in Minna, Niger State, on Sunday, in which it said that the Federal Government had taken the right steps towards a successful negotiation with members of the Islamic sect.
Chairman of the forum, Stephen Onmeje, said he wanted the support of every state government in the north as well as the traditional rulers in the region to ensure that peace returns.
However, two Northern groups, the Arewa Consultative Froum and the Middle Belt Dialogue on Sunday disagreed over the proposed amnesty programme for members of Boko Haram.
The ACF is of insistence that amnesty was the best option for the sect to come out of their hideout for dialogue, while the Middle Belt Dialogue wrote an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan cautioned him to have a rethink over the matter.
The ACF in its submission to the Federal Government on the proposed amnesty for the sect, of which a copy was obtained by this correspondent, insisted that granting amnesty to the sect would lead to dialogue, pointing out that the use of force would not solve the problem of the insurgency in the country.
The Forum’s position, which was signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Anthony Sani, argued that the offer of amnesty would make members of the sect to come out and show their faces on the negotiation table without fear of any security agent.
“Without any form of mechanism in place by the government that guarantees the security of the insurgents, nobody can reasonably expect them to show their faces.”
The forum further noted that its insistence on amnesty for the group was not in any way to encourage the sect or any other group to use violence as a means of addressing their concern but that “amnesty as a strategy of war is one that has yet to be tried.”
However, The Middle Belt Dialogue noted that there was no justification for granting amnesty to the sect that had wreaked havoc on innocent Nigerians in some parts of the North, as much as there was no basis for comparison between the agitation of the Niger Delta militants and members of the Islamic sect.
The group said it was sad that nobody was talking about the dead victims of the killings by Boko Haram while persons and groups were preoccupied with requests for amnesty for members of the sect.
“They are self serving, dangerous and potentially great threat to the security of the nation and will obviously open the country to international disrepute. We do not believe that Boko Haram and its associates are prepared for genuine peace where the right to worship and life of other Nigerians would be respected,” the group said.