Indications emerged on Thursday that President Goodluck Jonathan had reached a deal with northern leaders to grant amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect, as a means of ending the spate of raging violence across the region.
As a prelude to granting the pardon to the group, Jonathan met for several hours on Wednesday night with members of the powerful Northern Elders’ Forum, NEF at the Presidential Villa to secure their support and cooperation towards ending the malevolent onslaught.
Specifically, the President wanted an undertaking from the elders that they would impress upon the sect leaders and their followers to lay down their arms and embrace the peace, as a condition for offering the olive branch.
Under the plan, the Federal Government is to set up an Amnesty Commission, which would serve as a quasi-judicial body, to register and cater for repentant members of the sect and protect them from being harassed or intimidated by security agents.
“The AC will then set up modalities for any member of Boko Haram, who wants amnesty. Once a person signs up for amnesty, he is to be protected by the commission.
“It is our strong belief that the arrangement would give the government the leeway to find a lasting solution to the security crisis in the North, a source at the meeting said.