President Jonathan Mulls Amnesty for Boko Haram During Meeting with Northern Elders
The decision was reportedly reached after a meeting held between leadership of the Northern Elders Forum (NEF) and President Goodluck Jonathan at the presidential villa, Abuja, on Wednesday night.
Present at the meeting last night was the former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Prof Ango Abdullahi, Yusuf Maitama Sule, Paulen Tallen, Hakeem Baba Ahmed, Kali Gazali, Safiya Mohammed, Solomon Dualong, and Sheikh Ahmed Lemu.
Others include Shehu Malami, John Wash Pam, Lawal Kaita, Bello Kirfi, Paul Unongo, AVM Al-amin Daggash, Sani Zango Daura, N.A. Sheriff, Yahaya Kwande, Saleh Hassan, Muslim Maigari, Bashir Yusuf, Gen. Paul Tarfa, Justice Mustapha Akanbi, Prof Idris Mohammed, Capt Paul Tahal and Capt Bashir Sodangi.
Under the amnesty deal for Boko Haram, the president expected to set up an amnesty commission charged with fine-tuning details of the deal to Boko Haram sect members and to put that in motion, a security meeting with security chiefs in the country has been summoned by President Jonathan to be held today at the presidential villa.
After the meeting which ended at about11:30pm, Former Vice Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Prof Ango Abdullahi, told State House Correspondents that the president’s response to the call for amnesty at the meeting, which is sequel to the one held between the president and the NEF in May last year, was positive and that he assured the NEF delegation that the amnesty for the insurgents will be tabled before the security meeting today.
According to Abdullahi, “The meeting is simply a follow-up visit on the invitation of Mr. President. Many of you will recall that about eight or nine months ago, we interacted with the president on matters of the nation.
“We submitted a memorandum to him and he promised that he was going to look at our submission and he will call us back to further dialogue on the issues we have raised in ou submission. Ans this is precisely what transpired today.”
“The contention here that there are challenges in the country, especially in the area of security which is the greatest challenge.”
“What we discussed is that general opinion in the country is that amnesty should be factored into all effort made by government to overcome the security challenges all over the country or in most parts of the North.”
“Fortunately the president is already thinking hard on it and he assured us that there is a special meeting on the matter and that I’m sure that tomorrow something substantial will come out of that meeting”.
It would be recalled that the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III kick started the call of granting Amnesty to the Boko Haram sect, which was later followed by appeal from other northern leaders and concerned citizens including Arch Bishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan and Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah during their Easter messages, but since the call by the Sultan, President had kept mum, especially after declaring during a twon hall meeting with elders of Borno and Yobe States respectively after a town hall meeting that there will be no amnesty for Boko Haram sect because they are ghosts.
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