A Misplaced Call for Amnesty, By Femi Fani-Kayode‬

Femi Fani-Kayode

“Boko Haram is the greatest evil that Nigeria has ever known.”

The call on the Federal Government by the Sultan of Sokoto to grant Boko Haram amnesty is misplaced and ill-conceived.

I am in total agreement with the position adopted by CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and Mr. President on this issue and I am relieved that the call has been rejected.

The suggestion that a group of people that have slaughtered 4000 Nigerians in cold blood in the space of 2 years should be granted amnesty is completely untenable and unacceptable. It is also dangerous and counter-productive.

This is all the more so when the group has no face and has refused to identify itself or its leaders and when it has not entered into a ceasefire or laid down it’s arms. No sensible or responsible government can offer amnesty to a group of people that are butchering its citizens at will and whose evil and genocidal tendencies are unprecedented in the history of our country.

Boko Haram is the greatest evil that Nigeria has ever known. They have killed more innocent people in two years than the Irish Republican Army managed to kill in 100 years of fighting against the British in Northern Ireland.

You do not grant amnesty to such people. Instead you take off the gloves, remove all sense of restraint and allow the Nigerian military to do their job and crush them. This is a war against terror and it ought to be prosecuted as such.

The great Kamal Attaturk did the same thing to the terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists that troubled his country, Turkey, many years ago. He took the bull by the horns, wiped them out and transformed Turkey into the powerful, modern, industrialised, medium-power, democratic and secular state with a strong economy that she is today.

Without doing what he did to the terrorists and those that butchered others in the name of God, Turkey would not be the great country that she is today.

The debate should not be whether we ought to grant Boko Haram amnesty or not. The debate should be about how much support we need to give the Federal Government, the Nigerian military and the security agencies to do their job in wiping out the insidious cancer called Boko Haram.


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  • I would have found the views of Fanikayode amusing except that I recall he was once a member of the highest policy organ in this country. A cursory glance at current global practice and approach to addressing insurgent and terrorist groups indicates a clear preference to dialogue rather than use of force. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan readily come to mind. Nigeria and its boko haram variant should not be an exception.

    Some 4 years into Nigerias experience with insurgency, the use of force has only put paid to lie that our security agencies can crush the revolt and exposed the weakness of our military capability and assets in counter-insurgency and internal security operations. Instead, it has escalated the conflict over time and the number of collateral casualties among the non-combatant civilian populace, while also generating controversy and conspiracy theories on possible complicity of the security establishment itself as fnancially benefitting from grossly inflated security allocations.

    There is no basis whatsoever in comparing northetn Ireland conflict with Nigeria. The ideology, motivations, demographics, population and underlying circumstances of the two conflicts are entirely dissimilar as to render any comparison fascile.

  • freewill

    It will be the greatest of all mistakes if the federal should decide to grant Boko Haram amnesty.,these guys are murderers.

  • Lanre

    Egbon Femi, Thank you for this short piece. Infact, Nigeria is at war. It has not just been declared officially. Some people are trying to be politically correct. As a Yoruba Leader first and foremost, please organize with the political forces in the South West to ensure that forces of darkness that have taken over the North and that are being supported by leaders over there do not spread to our area. It is imminent. This is not the time to be writing articles in newspapers. Please. Organize meetings with Yoruba Leaders cutting across all political, religious and social shades to protect Yorubaland in particular and Nigeria in general.

    I write this piece in the name of our leaders gone: Chief Remi Fani-Kayode, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Chief S.L. Akintola, Chief S.D. Adegbenro, Chief M.A Majekodunmi, HRH Oba Adesoji Aderemi and many others too numerous but very important to mention. Odu’a agbe wa o. Amin.

    • segun

      Lanre, and that meeting should include Babalakin the money launderer since he is Yoruba-abi? Ṣùgbọ́n dúró na, bọ̀bọ́ Lanre, Babalakin is alleged to be involved in money laundering with the criminal ex-Governor Ibori who is in a British jail. Láńre, but the following questions are relevant(i) Ex-Governor and convict Ibori is NOT Yoruba, is he? The money involved in the alleged money laundering is oil money from the South-South. It is NOT COCOA money. Right? So what do you think of that bọ̀bọ́ Lanre? The point is that you run into serious contradiction when you carry this your ethnic thing too far. People leave you alone to pass your usual purely unscientific comments which are motivated by this ethnic blindness, because you have a right to it. But when you talk the way you talk I must ask you that your position implies that you are ready to support an alleged money launderer like Babalakin just because he is Yoruba. I know Awolowo whose name you WRONGLY evoke all the time, WILL NOT SUPPORT a money launderer if he is alive. But your position commits you to supporting a money launderer just because he is a Yoruba, and that is unYoruba, it is Un Awo like. Why? Because it is UNJUST and IMMORAL. Awolowo WILL NOT CONDONE such IMMORALITY , NEVER, will he do that in the name of some ethnic position, for Awolowo was NEVER an ethnic jingoist if YOU READ YOUR Awolowo well. But like the democrats that we are, you have every right to your opinion, but Lanre, YOU ARE WRONG BIG TIME. AND YOUR POSITION IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE. It IS YOUR PERSONAL OPINION FULL STOP. So leave it that way. Do not drag Yorubas into a mess of corruption. Do not use our name. You have a right to your opinion But Stop It!, Stop passing it as the position of a people. I AM OPPOSED TO ALL CORRUPT PEOPLE , ALL MONEY LAUNDERERS ALL PEOPLE WHO KEEP NIGERIA AND AFRICA BACKWARD WHEREVER ETHNIC GROUP THEY BELONG. Your ethnic arguments commit you to supporting corrupt people in the name of an ethnic group, and IT IS BAD and POOR. Some of us will have NOTHING with that. Okay?

      • Lanre

        Mr. Segun :), in the spirit of civil debate, I will oblige you a response. And this is the only time I will ever do so. I am too busy to be responding to faceless anonymous posters. But since you are Yoruba, I will take you like an Aburo and explain my statement to Chief Femi Fani-Kayode. If you read my first opening sentence, I said Nigeria is at war. You can interpret that statement any how you like. When a country is at war, you protect your own first. That is a basic principle of self-survival. I have called on Yoruba leaders on different fora to defend the homeland. That is what my Leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo will do.

        • segun

          Mr. Lanre,There is no facelesness here. If by being “faceless” you mean the online platform does not allow me to know you technically and vice versa, that is true. But it means that on that criterion, you are as “faceless” as I am. Okay? So given this “facelesness” what is important is the idea we espoused. So forget about the face Mr. Lanre, and focus on the ideas we both espouse. Your position is FILLED with contradictions. You have defended an alleged money launderer like Babalakin here on this platform. And the ONLY reason you did that is because he is “Yoruba”. That is morally unacceptable Mr. Lanre. And it is unlike Awolowo who is know for his moral thought. How can something be morally correct just because that act is committed by a Yoruba. Awolowo will NOT accept that, so please stop it, or you can continue but do not use Awo’s name to defend what is obviously immoral and unethical. We “Yorubas” are supposed to be “enlightened”. Right? So we do not think like that. An immoral act is an immoral act even if it is committed by someone you think belongs to your ethnic group. That is why I put it ON YOUR FACE that such conclave you are calling for will also include immoral money launderers of the “South-South Oil money”. Just because they are “Yorubas’? True? And given your now well known ethnic bashing, you forgot that the thieves in Yorubaland are collaborating with thieves from other “ethnic” groups, and you are asking us to sit down at the same table with thieves just because they are “Yorubas”. So my question is: when your Yoruba thief was laundering money, was he doing that on YOUR(Lanre’s) behalf and on behalf of other Yorubas like me? This is the problem your unscientific analysis runs into. And it is the basis of my objection to your position. So please Mr. Lanre, you represent yourself. You do not represent Yorubas who are committed to Nigeria and the moral and nationalist political principles Awolowo represents. Awolowo WILL NOT support CORRUPTION the way your position has COMMITTED you to support corruption under this regime. Stop it Mr. Lanre. It is unanalytical. There is NO WHERE IN ALL AWOLOWO’s books where he defends ETHNIC REPUBLICS the way you talk and carry on. You can shout from today till tomorrow that Awolowo is “your Leader”, it does not show that you understand his very deep and profound thought.
          By your posts, you are not different from the Achebes and Tildes of this world. Yet paradoxically you criticize them. Some of us just laugh when you criticize people(Achebe and Tilde) who think exactly like you!!! You all belong to the same world-Ethnic Republicans!!! And THAT IS NOT AWOLOWO’S POLITICAL AND PHILOSOPHY-PERIOD

        • kandi

          tinubu and femi fani kayode is more popular in the south west????? Lanre the Fani kayode boy. hahahahahaha……………..

  • kandi

    The problems of Nigeria, the terrible violence above all, has nothing to
    do with religion,” he said. “The problems here arise from the
    mismanagement of the country’s resources and from the inability of the
    government to control the situation. Every crisis in Nigeria is
    immediately linked to religions, but we have never had any crisis at all
    arising from either Christians or Muslims fighting over religious
    issues. The real reason behind the current crisis is political and
    economic.”
    According to Kukah, the bloodshed fomented by Boko Haram
    is simply an extension of the violence in the last 20-plus years in
    Nigeria’s Delta region and in the southwest, all of which he traces to
    corruption and a lack of confidence in public administration of the
    country’s wealth.
    “You could stop this situation today and tomorrow it will appear in a different place,” he said.
    Kukah underscored that Christians aren’t the only victims.
    “The
    fact that they attack churches with extraordinary violence makes the
    media come to the conclusion that they are against Christians, but this
    is not true,” he said. “They kill Christians, but they also kill Muslim
    women and children. They are criminals who attack churches, media
    houses, police stations, markets … They have attacked Muslims leaders
    and institutions, and they have killed thousands of Muslims, indeed, a
    far greater number than the Christians.”
    Kukah concedes that Boko
    Haram invokes militant Islamic rhetoric, but insists that “the mere use
    of this language does not make their criminality religious in any
    sense.”
    In terms of an exit strategy, Kukah argues that civil society rather than the military is the key.
    “The
    federal government should set a target for the withdrawal of the
    military from our streets,” he said. “The political class must be
    encouraged to find a solution to what is clearly a political problem and
    not a religious one. Community leaders, not necessarily religious
    leaders, must be encouraged to take charge by embarking on initiatives
    that aim at bringing communities together.”……..REV HASSAN KUKA (2013). Shame on you Fani Kayode the arrogant hater of northerners and islam

    • Oluremi Olu

      While one concedes that Nigeria has problems of poor
      political and economic management, which criminal elements often exploit; it
      will be rather naive and denialist to conclude that we do not have religious
      problems too. One wonders on what planet
      Rev. Fr. Kukah lives when he contends that there have never been issues that
      have created a crisis between Christians and Muslims. What about the Sharia
      debates during the constituent assembly meetings in 1977 and the subsequent
      ones; the attempt by IBB to smuggle Nigeria
      into the OIC, the unconstitutional introduction of full blown Sharia in some northern states
      which led to violent demonstrations and the death of many of his fellow
      compatriots. As someone from southern
      Zaria, a predominantly Christian part of Kaduna state, Rev. Fr. Kukah knows all
      too well, through first or second hand experience, the difficulty of being a Christian in that
      state and the chronic tension between both religions in that state. Granted
      that Rev. Fr. Kukah needs to be circumspect, in the light of his position in
      Christian circles, but that does not mean he should gloss over the truth.

      Boko Haram have never wavered on their motivations and
      intentions, namely, a jihad for the creation of an Islamic state in Nigeria.
      While poverty, ignorance and disaffection may explain why some of the foot soldiers are attracted
      by such dastardly ideology; same cannot
      be said about their leadership, given the level of sophistication and
      organisation they have displayed. Even if we are to accept Rev. Fr. Kukah’s
      argument, the question that follows is that, in what way does the bombing of
      Churches and other innocent compatriots solve the political and economic
      problems of the society or satisfy the criminal intents of Boko Haram, if they
      are indeed criminals?

      It is a well-known fact that the north, as a block has been
      the greatest beneficiary of the overt, and covert, formulae, that have been
      employed for revenue allocation in Nigeria, over the years. Instead of these
      monies going into the improvement of the lot of the peoples of the region, it
      has gone into, among other misapplications, building palatial mansions for the
      northern power elite; in, choice areas of the various northern capital cities.
      Hence, if the Boko Haram insurgency was
      indeed a social movement reacting to poverty and marginalisation, then the ire
      of its leaders should be directed at the
      mansions, and interests, of these millionaires-without-means; rather, than
      against ordinary fellow citizens, going
      about their lawful pursuits in places of
      worship , on the streets and in their
      work places. On the contrary, what we see is Boko Haram leaders taking refuge
      in these palatial mansions. Remember the one that was recently arrested in
      Maiduguri GRA, whose location of arrest subsequently sparked off a dispute between
      two prominent politicians in Borno state?

      In any case, Boko Haram has laid down their conditions, to
      wit, that they will lay down their arms only when all of us have embraced
      Islam. And there lies the problem in dealing with the Boko Haram variant of
      violence. As Rev. Fr. Kukah knows all
      too well, most Nigerians take their religion seriously and would prefer death
      to conversion. This is why the Boko Haram bombings have never deterred
      Christians from trooping to Church every Sunday, despite the risks they face.
      How do you negotiate with a man who invades your space , holds a gun to your
      head and asks you to change your religion before you can have peace; more so,
      in a country whose constitution guarantees you freedom of religion, among
      others? Boko Haram demands are religious, and strike at the heart of what we as
      a society hold dear, as opposed to the secular demands of the violent groups in
      the other regions that Rev Fr. Kukah cites. By the nature of his calling, it is
      incumbent on Rev. Fr. Kukah to vigorously defend his flock and not try to
      rationalise their decimation.

      That Christians are not the only ones being killed does not
      make the motivation of the Boko Haram insurgency less religious; neither does
      it detract from the fact that Christians are one of the primary targets of this
      deadly group. It is widely believed, and generally accepted, that Muslims
      predominate in northern Nigeria. Hence,
      when Boko Haram plants a bomb for Christians, and those other groups that they
      perceive as standing in the way of their ultimate objective; by the laws of
      simple probability, they will end up killing more Muslims than their intended
      targets. Groups like Boko Haram are usually very Machiavellian in their tactics,
      to the extent that while they will not intentionally set out to kill Muslims;
      however, if the need arises pursuant to the achievement of their objectives,
      they will do so and rationalise it on the fatalistic logic that the death of
      any Muslim in the course of a jihad is the will of Allah. And how, will
      Christians who are not so fatalistic, explain the death of their own, Rev. Fr.
      Kukah?

      We should not forget that Boko Haram did not start in 2009,
      as some commentators would have us believe; they started in 2002/2003 and had, all
      along, been conducting low level insurgency, until matters got to a head in
      2009, when the State had to intervene militarily. The question to ask Rev. Fr.
      Kukah is where, all this while, was the community elders and leaders he is now
      proposing will douse the flames of the Boko Haram insurgency? Asking the State
      to withdraw her forces, when the other side is still armed, will be foolhardy
      and asking her to surrender her sovereignty to a band of faceless religious
      zealots. The truth is that the leaders that Rev. Fr. Kukah refers to, be they
      local or regional, have created, or allowed to thrive, in their backyard; a
      monster which is now embarrassingly out of control. Insurgencies often thrive
      on the goodwill and support of their host communities. And, until such
      communities realise that their Muja heeds are doing more harm than good, and
      subsequently give them up, we will continue to count bodies on either sides.

      • kandi

        Thank God you know that the so-called faceless group started their activities in 2002/2003. Olusegun obasanjo (Fani kayodes Godfather) was the then president of Nigeria. For the chief security of Nigeria as of then to tell us hes not aware of this group and no one from the north complained to him or his securities, is an insult to our intelligence. So do you mean Boko Haram are faceless as the killers of Bola Ige, Mallam Jafar of kano, etc……? In a serious country, we know that the president is the chief security of that country. so for president Jonathan to tell Nigerians that Boko Haram are faceless, then he means no one is safe in Nigeria. Rev. Kuka knows the north more than you do. Most of the crises in kaduna and jos is an ethnic clash which turns to be religious. Go and do your findings without sentiment. As the Maitatsine, OPC, Bakasi boys, Mend, and Massob existed, so shall Boko Haram issue will come to pass. We Muslims believe that in every hardship there is relief. We as muslims in the north know that our scholars tried there best to inform the federal government about boko haram since when they started their ideology in Nigeria. Sheikh Albani zaria in 2009 accusssed proffessor jerry Gana of having a good relationship with the sect group to an extent he always go to maiduguri to see him. uptil today the federal government was silent about the issue. Most of the people arrested including the serving senator were all members of PDP. And most of the muslim elites killed in maiduguri are ANPP members. so who is fooling who?

      • kandi

        “The president once said and I quote
        ‘I know them; some of them are in my government.’ During the visit, the
        same president said and I quote ‘they are faceless; you don’t negotiate
        with faceless people… No amnesty for Boko Haram.

        “Which of these two conflicting claims
        from our president’s lips, should we believe? Should we put ourselves
        in a state of confusion by believing the two; because all the claims
        come from our own leader who we must all take serious? Tsav said.

        “Or is the president saying we should
        pick one and disregard the other depending on which we want to; and by
        extension take him as unserious? I think there is every reason to think
        before talking; not the other way round,” Tsav, a member of the 41-man
        Northern States Governors’ Forum Committee for Rehabilitation, Healing
        and Security said.

        “Or is he saying if the elders and
        politicians do not bear this responsibility, innocent persons will
        continue to lose their lives and properties? Yet, this president took
        the Holy book in his hands and swore to swore to provide security and
        the well being of his citizens……….ABUBAKAR TSAV (2013). oluremi we are not illitrates. we have records of all the speeches made by Fani Kayode. we will tell nigerians at the appropriate time.