Nigeria: Amnesty to Boko-Haram, a misnomer

Nigeria appears to be in a quandary with the daunting security challenges in the country.

Jonathan declares “I can’t grant amnesty to ghosts [faceless people] but I’m open to negotiation if members of Boko-Haram would show themselves physically with their demands”.

Outwardly, he disparages that Boko-Haram has infiltrated his government. Nevertheless, Mr President endorses zealots (some indicted) as his advisers, security and police chiefs. It is disheartening that Mr President is caught in 'the monkey business illusion', waiting for the physical manifestation of the sect’s members whereas kingpins of the sect are the culprits clamouring for amnesty for the islamist-militia. Maybe this is a display of wilful blindness or ignorance effect by the president?

Meanwhile, Jonathan approves N5.7bn, for predominantly sharia states. What happens to the Beroms, Kagoros/Nimzongs, Mabuzawas, Siyawas, Tangales, Zurus? Ethnic minorities who are victims of the activities of islamists and are continually displaced from their lands?

Therefore, amnesty to any violent or extremist group is disproportionate, and constitutes an outright demonstration of insensitivity to the plights of numerous innocent citizens who are victims of Boko-Haram.

Historical antecedents of ‘Salafist jihadism’ perpetrated by Islamic militants across the globe, reveals that 'fanatics' can no longer co-exist peacefully with anyone who opposes their radical ideology. On the attack on Berom-Christian communities in Barkin-Ladi and Riyom in Plateau State, 100 people were reportedly killed. Boko-Haram asked ‘Christians in Nigeria to accept Islam’ as a condition for ceasefire or 'they will never have peace.'

Top on the agenda of islamists is not only to rule but an inordinate desire to Islamize Nigeria by establishing Islamic Kingdom/Republic. It’s disheartening that Al-Qaeda, Al-shabaab, Boko-Haram and the like use religion to justify their destruction of human life and quest for supremacy via violence. This is evident in persistent bloodbaths that engulf Nigeria.

Boko-Haram’s solidarity with Islamic caliphates/empires outweighs their patriotism for Nigeria’s nationhood of indigenous population. For some of the ‘moderate’ Muslims of northern Nigeria, paramount in their advocacy and election manifestos is amnesty for Boko-Haram,constitutional amendments against ‘indigeneship’ and laws in favour of grazing. So long as Nigerians remain naive to ulterior motives behind clarion calls advocated by fundamentalists, Nigeria will never experience oneness and peace.

As minorities we firmly believe in justice and equality as values, therefore we would not subscribe to any form of justice aversion via the legitimization of crime and extremism in the form of amnesty to enemies of Nigeria. Amnesty to religious zealots is capable of undermining the essence of justice and morality. The president should fundamentally consider jus cogens the principle of international law that is accepted by the international community of states as a norm from which no derogation (crimes against humanity, genocide, violent-extremism etc.) is ever permitted.

Hence, government should have a rethink of a prototype of religious extremism and ethnic animosity it is founding for Nigeria. We call on the international community to intervene in this situation for the sake of oppressed ethnic minorities.

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Date: 15/05/2013


Religion/Religious minorities

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