Fears Grow Over Possibility Al-Qaeda May Scuttle Amnesty For Boko Haram
There are fears in the North that hardliners in the Boko Haram Islamic sect may be influenced by al-Qaeda to frustrate the planned Federal Government amnesty, just as anxiety is mounting over whether the amnesty will also cover the Ansaru Islam insurgents who operate across Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Niger Republic.
Northern leaders have in the past 48 hours been making contacts on how to ensure that the rampaging sect does not disgrace them by refusing to cease hostilities even after the amnesty.
Chats by Saturday Tribune with some key leaders from the North on Friday confirmed that the region is anxious for the insurgents to accept the offer, when it is eventually made, as refusing it may further weaken the zone and give the president further political capital in the run-up to the 2015 election.
A leader from Kano, who spoke in confidence, noted: “We are eager and very optimistic that the militants will accept. We are on trial with this amnesty, and our (hope) is that the sect will listen to us and not their alleged affiliates in al-Qaeda.”
According to him, many leaders who met with President Goodluck Jonathan are now worried about the international dimension to the crisis, adding, “we are afraid of a possibility of the sect listening to their allies outside the country.”
He said further: “We pray they will see the bloodletting and save our region. We are also concerned that if Ansaru Islam continues attacks on security forces, the situation in the North won’t be any better even if the amnesty is implemented.”
While speaking with Saturday Tribune, another Young Turk from Katsina State but based in Kaduna, noted: “There are two sides to it. The sect must listen to our elders and rescue our region. Secondly, and this is the view of many of us with intellectual bent, failure to accept amnesty may put some northern big wigs in trouble.
He confirmed the general anxiety in the North over the amnesty, saying that many are currently praying that the amnesty offer will become a reality.
However, the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) has alleged that the Presidency is merely tricking the North with the offer of amnesty, saying that “the political Boko Haram, which is the most virulent, is linked with the ruling party.”
Speaking with the Saturday Tribune, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, said: “The prayer in the North today is that these killings stop. But we pray that political Boko Haram will stop once this amnesty is on stream.”
Meanwhile, The Presidency has declared that no package has been adopted yet by the Federal Government for the amnesty, contrary to reports being peddled in the social media.
Presidential spokesman, Rueben Abati, said on the African Independent Television yesterday that the Amnesty Committee would work out all operational details and submit report to the president.
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