Northern traditional rulers back amnesty for Boko Haram

Northern emirs meeting

The traditional rulers released a communiqué at the end of their meeting in Sokoto.

The Northern Traditional Rulers’ Council has appealed to federal government to reconsider its stand and grant amnesty to insurgents who embraced peace, reformation and reintegration.

The appeal is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the council’s meeting in Sokoto on Friday.

According to the monarchs , “this is the norm the world over and there exists a precedent in Nigeria.”

“The unfortunate escalation of the insecurity in the country calls for decisive action by the government in order to contain it .

“The meeting also called on the Federal Government to consider dialogue as the better option in resolving the crises,” the communiqué read.

President Goodluck Jonathan had ruled out the immediate possibility of granting amnesty to Boko Haram insurgents who have claimed responsibility and have been blamed for thousands killed in various attacks in Northern Nigeria. The president, during his last visit to Borno and Yobe, explained that the insurgents must be ready to lay down their arms and make clear their demands before the government would dialogue with them or consider granting them amnesty.

The call by the traditional rulers comes after similar calls by the Sultan of Sokoto and the Jamatu Nasri Islam, the coalition of Northern Nigerian Muslims.

Not targeted at non-Muslims

The traditional rulers also said that the insurgency was not targeted at non-Muslims as majority of the victims were Muslims.

“Attempts on the lives of their Royal Highnesses , the Shehu of Borno , the Emir of Kano and the Emir of Fika and the killing of a number of Muslim scholars are testimonies to this fact,” they said. “The meeting noted with deep concern that the majority of the victims of the various crises are the ordinary citizens.”

Similarly ,the traditional rulers noted with concern the deteriorating rate of unemployment and its tendency to provide militants a potent source of recruits .

They called on all governments to take necessary, positive and tangible steps to create jobs as well as fight poverty in all its ramifications.

“As part of the strategies to fight poverty in addressing the current and potential security and other challenges, the meeting calls for systematic review of the nation’s education system to make its products more skilful, productive , self-reliant and better prepared for life challenges,” the leaders said.

They also called on Nigerians to engage in fervent prayers for God to intervene and relieve Nigeria of the current problems . They called on Nigerians to repent and change their bad habits and practices with good ones.

The traditional rulers also reaffirmed their commitment to continue to work with governments at all levels to entrench peace, security, progress and prosperity.

The meeting reiterated the need for the government and leadership at all levels to have the fear of God , be fair , just and eschew corruption in all its ramifications .

“The meeting condoles and commiserates with the families of all those who lost their lives and or property as a result of the prevailing security crises .

“In order to further cement the bond of friendship and understanding , the meeting resolved to rotate its meetings among the northern states on a quarterly basis ,’’ the communiqué said.

The meeting held for the first time outside the traditional seat, Kaduna, and was attended by the chairmen of the states’ councils of Emirs and chiefs or their representatives.

(NAN)


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