Amid the dilemma created by the rejection of amnesty for members of Boko Haram by the leadership of the Islamist group, Governor Muazu Babangida Aliyu of Niger State wants other avenues explored to curb the group’s insurgency.
Specifically, Aliyu, who is also the chairman of the Northern Governors Forum, says he and his colleagues are in the position to tackle the security challenges in their respective states.
“We should not wait for the Federal Government to start the process of making peace with Boko Haram. We must stop the blame game of saying `it is Abuja’ (that should end the insurgency), because Abuja is only to complement the efforts of the state governments while the actual decision and the mobilisation of the people rests with the state governors”, he said.
The Federal Government had set up a committee to advise it on the desirability or otherwise of amnesty for the Islamist group which the leadership rejected, saying it was government and not it that needed amnesty.
The Federal Government action came on the heels of the calls for amnesty for Boko Haram by some eminent Nigerians, including the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, to end the group’s insurgency campaign in the North.
Aliyu, speaking, yesterday, at the 24th Forum of the Speakers of Northern States Houses of Assembly, said there might have been international dimension to the Boko Haram insurgency, stressing that while the proposed amnesty is good, it is not the final solution.
He explained that there was the need to explore other avenues, including the enactment of laws that will enable people contribute to their communities to engender lasting peace , harmony and security in the country.
The governor absolved President Goodluck Jonathan on the security challenge in the North and argued that state governors are in the position to tackle the challenge in their respective states because they have been empowered by the Constitution to do so.
Aliyu commended the president for the establishment of the amnesty committee on Boko Haram. He urged Nigerians to support Jonathan to succeed in this effort at finding lasting solution to the insecurity confronting the nation.
He pointed out that the insecurity issue should be seen as a collective fight, and called on all Nigerians to be honest and sincere in the discussion of the critical national issue.
The governor told the Speakers: “As Nigerians of northern extraction, you should articulate and aggregate the needs of your people which should form the basis of negotiation with the polity of Nigeria. You should also have a strong position in the negotiation process because this culture, once established, will reduce the pressures being mounted on the leadership particularly at the centre”.
“I therefore urge you and your Forum to go back to the grassroots to forge more enduring relationships with the people to understand their needs and aspirations. We need such liaison and interface to bring the people and government together to check the mounting insecurity in the North and other parts of the country,” Aliyu stated .
He called on lawmakers to concentrate on their constitutional duties of law making, appropriation, exposing corruption, inefficiency in the management of public funds and oversight function while allowing the executive and judiciary to carry out their duties.
Earlier, the acting Chairman, Northern Speakers Forum, Hon. Aminu Musa Habib, commended Aliyu for creating the atmosphere for a harmonious and cordial working relationship between the three arms of government in Niger State.
According to him, “this is what it should be if our democratic ideals should be allowed to survive and grow like other developed democracies in the world”.
Habib noted that the Forum was established with the sole aim of advancing legislative views about democratic governance in Nigeria, with special attention on the interests of the North.
`Amnesty rejection ridicules govt’
Meanwhile, a House of Representatives member from Plateau State, Mr. Bitrus Kaze, says the rejection of amnesty by Boko Haram ridicules the Federal Government.
He also warned that if the rationale behind the offer is an attempt by Jonathan to court the North for his political ambition, he would be disappointed.
Kaze, who represents Jos South/Jos East Federal Constituency, in a statement in Jos, yesterday, wondered why the president would offer amnesty to an unrepentant group which has continue to kill innocent Nigerians despite the offer.
“President Goodluck Jonathan must not sacrifice the security and well-being of innocent citizens in a bid to court regional political patronage. I am unable to see any motivation for rewarding unrepentant killers other than an attempt to please their mentors, who in the long run will never support President Jonathan’s political ambition anyway”, he said.
“In my honest view, granting amnesty to remorseless and unrepentant terrorists is the weirdest policy ever contemplated by any government in the history of Nigeria.
“The pro-amnesty pronouncements and efforts so far by government have been completely rubbished by the intended beneficiaries of the programme themselves; they have continued in their uncurbed destruction of lives and properties of innocent Nigerians virtually on a daily basis.
“It is indescribably sickening that the merchants of death have since declared their innocence and have instead offered amnesty to President Jonathan’s government. The rejection of amnesty by the Boko Haram terrorists has completely exposed the fact that the real motive of the advocates of their amnesty is anything except the security and well-being of Nigerians.
“I am not sure any government has suffered so much ridicule since Nigeria’s independence. Our national pride and sovereignty is being eroded by inconsistent statements and policies which are antithetical to our security and collective well-being.”
Ribadu begs Boko Haram
Also, yesterday, the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commissioon, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, appealed to Boko Haram to accept the amnesty offer by the Federal Government.
He stated this in Ikenne while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after he condoled with the matriach of the Awolowo family, Mrs. HID Awolowo, on the death of her son, Oluwole.
According to Ribadu, who was accompained by a former Aviation Minsiter, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, and a former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Alhaji Aliyu Moddibo, the activities of the sect had cost the nation fortunes.
“The Federal Government should not rest in its peace moves despite foreseen stumbling blocks.
“It is very sad when I heard that the Boko Haram sect rejected the amnesty offer, but that does not mean government should relent in the move. My view from the onset is that we should pursue the direction of dialogue and not close any door against peace”, the former EFCC boss said.
“From now, the feelers and body language of the sect are not encouraging, but that does not mean we should abandon or give up.
We should pursue the direction of peace.
“I urge the Federal Government to continue in the line and direction of looking for a way of addressing and stopping this
” I am also making a direct appeal to those involved to know that they are destroying their own people. They must understand that what they are asking for -Nigeria’s Islamisation – has not worked anywhere in the world and it will not work in Nigeria. What do they want to gain from these senseless killings. In the name of God, let them stop.”
Fani- Kayode, also talking to journalists, condemned the Federal Government’s attitude to the security of the people of the country.
He accused government of failing to protect lives and properties, noting that about 4,200 innocent souls had been lost since about two years ago.
He described the administration as an incompetent and irresponsible one, adding that the government is weak in its efforts to consider amnesty Boko Haram .