The call for amnesty for Boko Haram has won more support with the former Head of State and presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, and the United States of America.
Buhari, who said that nothing should be too big to sacrifice for peace and harmony in the country, likened the proposed amnesty to the one granted the Niger Delta militants by the Yar’adua administration. He said the terms of reference of the committee indicate that it is the right things to be done.
Buhari made this call at the presidential lodge in Abeokuta, Ogun State en route Ikenne to condole the matriarch of the Awolowo family, Chief (Mrs) H.I.D. Awolowo over the death of her son, Chief Olufemi Awolowo in the company of former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Masari and his running mate in the last elections, Pastor Tunde Bakare.
Buhari criticized those against the idea of amnesty, saying that this would not be the first time amnesty was granted to a violent group.
“You remember it happened in the time of Yar’adua when he gave amnesty to the militants; so whatever would bring us peace as a society we should do it. It is good they’ve set up the committee; having seen the terms of reference, [I think] it is a good thing to be done.Whatever will bring us peace throughout society, we should do it,” he said.
The entourage was received at the presidential lodge by the secretary to Ogun State government, Barrister Taiwo Adeoluwa, and the state commissioner for environment, Lanre Tejuoso.
Addressing party supporters who thronged the presidential lodge, Buhari thanked them for their loyalty and support for the party.
“I know I didn’t send an advance notice that I was coming. I tried to come quietly to see the Awolowo family to commiserate with them, but for you to get the information, mobilise yourself and come here, I thank you most sincerely,” he said.
Speaking on the reason he was in Ikenne, Buhari said, “I came to Ikenne to see Mrs Awolowo and condole with her on the death of her son. From there, I went to see the Oba, the Awujale, to greet him. I came here to greet the mother of my friend and colleague Pastor Bakare and, in the morning, I will go to Ekiti to condole with them on the death of the deputy governor.
Meanwhile, the American government, speaking through the Political Counsellor of its embassy in Nigeria, Gregory Lawless, said it would support amnesty for Boko Haram if that would be the solution to ending violence in the North.
He said, “We think it is a positive development. We will work with Nigerian government as it develops its own policy approach as to counter violent extremism.”
He made this statement at a teleconference on US-Nigeria Binational Commission in response to a question on the position of his government regarding the proposed amnesty by the Nigerian government to the Islamist sect.
He added, “Security concerns in Nigeria would be addressed through our regional security cooperation working group as part of the Bi-National Commission.
“We are looking at a holistic approach to address the unmet grievances of the population, especially in the north.
“Through that mechanism, we think by broadening the scope of response to violent extremism, we believe that we will be addressing some of those issues in a more fundamental way.”
The U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission is a high-level forum for advancing issues of mutual concern which was inaugurated in April 2010 by the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton, and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Yayale Ahmed. The Commission is composed of five working groups which meet regularly to focus and deepen engagement on issues concerning governance, energy, security, agriculture, and the Niger Delta.
The Working Groups include, Good Governance; Transparency and Integrity;Regional Security Cooperation; Energy and Investment; Food Security and Agriculture, as well as the Niger Delta.
The working groups established benchmarks for transparent and inclusive elections, including registering voters, appointing electoral commission leaders, and allocating independent election funding.