Archibishop of Abuja Catholic Diocese, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has asked members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, to show repentance and enter into genuine dialogue with the Federal Government, to be qualified for amnesty from the government.
Cardinal Onaiyekan, in an Easter message made available to newsmen in Abuja, on Tuesday, said while victims of killings of the sect would be aggrieved at any mention of pardon for the members, vengeance could not bring back those who had been murdered in cold blood. According to him, amnesty and pardon were all tailored after God’s powers of pardon and forgiveness, adding that in an atmosphere of social tension, aggrieved parties must learn to adopt God’s line of forgiveness.
According to him, “Obviously, the state must handle very carefully whatever powers it has to forgive criminals, otherwise the whole structure of law and order in the society will be seriously compromised. There may be political considerations, but these cannot be allowed to overthrow moral imperatives.”
Before the Boko Haram can be seriously considered for amnesty, they must meet the two conditions necessary for forgiveness, namely repentance and amendment… I believe that we should not throw away outright the consideration of such amnesty. Faced with an intractable problem, we have to explore all possible avenues of solution.” He then commended the call by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, for amnesty, saying that the call had further called attention to the need for dialogue on the matter.