Amnesty Deal: Niger Delta Militants Are Different From Boko Haram, Presidency Insists

jonathan-bokoThe Presidency on Monday lashed out at proponents of amnesty for the Boko Haram sect, saying they were politicising the issue.

This position was made known by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe in a statement in Abuja.

It would be recalled that prominent Nigerians; among them the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar III, had called on the Federal Government to extend amnesty to Boko Haram as was done with Niger Delta militants but President Goodluck Jonathan, during a two-day visit to Yobe and Borno States some few weeks ago, said the Federal Government could not grant amnesty to the militant Islamic sect.

“We cannot declare amnesty for Boko Haram because we cannot declare amnesty for ghosts. You cannot liken Boko Haram to what happened in the Niger Delta” Jonathan was quoted as saying.

Okupe, in a statement on Monday said advocates of the call should learn from how the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta was brokered.

According to him, proponents of amnesty for Boko Haram should initiate contacts with its leaders and convince them to dialogue with government.

Okupe said contrary to insinuation in some quarters, Jonathan had nothing to gain from the prolonged wanton destruction of life and property by members of the sect.

He said leaders of thought in the affected states should instead prevail on the leadership of the sect to abandon “their destructive pursuit and embrace dialogue” like militants in the Niger Delta did before amnesty was granted.