The Secretary to the Bauchi state Christian Association of Nigeria, (CAN), Rev. Joshua Ray Mains, has described the Federal Government’s offer of amnesty to Boko Haram as a wrong strategy for the 2015 general election by President Jonathan, saying that the move would never achieve the ultimate goal of a peaceful resolution.
It condemned the idea of granting amnesty to a faceless group that had wantonly destroyed lives and property of Nigerians at every turn. He said amnesty should only be granted to people with known ideology, identities and vision and not a sect whose membership and ideology remain unclear.
The CAN Secretary said, “The issue of granting amnesty to the Boko Haram group should not even arise in the first instance because up till today nobody can actually point out who members of this group are. We have a problem of identifying this group and I don’t think it is rational to give amnesty to group of people you don’t know.”
He said that amnesty should be given to a group of individual who had lost a stake, like the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta, adding that they had their strong reasons for amnesty such as oil exploitation, infrastructural decay, unemployment and land degradation.
“Why should they be given amnesty? Are we congratulating them for the people they have sent to their early graves or are we encouraging them to continue with their acts so that other groups can take advantage of the amnesty and continue to disrupt the peace of the country? He asked.
Also reacting to the amnesty offer to the faceless Boko Haram group, Pastor Bitrus Bdliya of the Church of Brethren in Nigeria described the offer as an exercise in futility, as it would not make the boys to stop their bombing campaigns.
He wondered how the government should contemplate amnesty for Boko Haram whose leader, Imam Abubakar Shekau, had come out publicly through the media to reject such offer.
He said, it was unfortunate that some people equated Boko Haram with the Niger Delta militias, pointing out that the two groups and their interests were not the same and should not be juxtaposed for any reason.
Bdliya pointed out that while the Niger Delta militants fought for a share of the oil being exploited in the region, Boko Haram merely wants to kill Christians and islamize the country by force.
Also speaking, the Yobe State CAN Chairman, Reverend Idi Garba, noted that the Federal Government’s attempt would amount to waste of time and resources, since the sect members had not sought repentance and forgiveness before the federal government threw the offer at them.