An amnesty committee is to report to government in two weeks.
Governors of Katsina and Jigawa states, Ibrahim Shema and Sule Lamido, have praised President Goodluck Jonathan for initiating moves that could lead to the offer of amnesty to members of the extremists group, Boko Haram.
Mr. Shema said the president’s move showed courage. He urged all those aggrieved to lay down their arms and come forward in order to resolve the crisis.
“Many Nigerians, particularly leaders from the northern part of the country are yearning for a quick resolution of the crisis,” the governor said.
“President Jonathan has responded positively to the requests for amnesty for members of the sect being advocated for by some leaders in the country in order to ensure peace, progress and development in all parts of the country.”
He commended the Northern Governors’ Forum for its efforts at an addressing the crisis, noting that the forum had set up a special committee on peace, healing and reconciliation.
According to the governor, the committee has been working very hard and it will soon submit its second report to the forum for deliberation.
“Certainly all hands are on deck, including traditional institutions, religious and political leaders. Even those from the security services – the military, the police, the SSS — are all part of that committee,’’ he said.
His Jigawa state counterpart, Mr. Lamido, lauded the setting up of a committee by the federal government to look into the possibility of granting amnesty to members of Boko Haram.
He said the decision is an indication that wisdom has prevailed and peace is expected to return to the country while issues of development will receive due attention.
“Wisdom has prevailed. It is all about what do we do to secure out country, especially when Nigeria becomes a country that is very stable so that we confront the problems of human development,” he said.
“This country needs our energy, our political skill and a number of things which are begging for attention. Therefore, whatever it is to be able to get Nigeria united, to get Nigeria very secure, we should do it. So, ignore whatever has been the other misconception.”
Lagos-based lawyer, Festus Keyamo, commended the initiative, but advised that the amnesty should be an offer rather than an express grant.
“It is one thing to offer amnesty and another to accept. Granting amnesty presupposes that an agreement has already been reached between both parties,” he said.
“Government can only grant amnesty when the offer has been accepted by Boko Haram.”
Mr. Keyamo also called for amnesty for the jailed former leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, MEND, Henry Okar, whom is said is associated with a “single bomb blast”.
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