Emma Amaize, Regional Editor,South South
WARRI- THE Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammed Abubakar III, came under fire, Thursday, from two of his colleague- royal fathers in Niger-Delta over his call on President Goodluck Jonathan, Tuesday, to grant “total amnesty” to members of the Islamist group, Boko Haram, for peace to reign in the country.
Former national president of the Traditional Rulers for Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, HR M, Charles Ayemi-Botu, Pere of Siembiri kingdom in Delta State and HRM, King Dodo II, Pere of Bilabiri Mien kingdom, Bayelsa state , said they were shocked by the reasoning of the Sultan.
They said the Federal Government should declare a full-scale war on Boko Haram rather than granting amnesty to mysterious persons.
HRM Ayemi-Botu said, “For me, I condemn the call by the Sultan, we have come to know Boko Haram as a faceless group with link to Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups that abhor Western education. Their agitation has no moral basis and should not be compared to the Niger-Delta struggle, in which the youths took up arms for equity in the distribution of wealth from oil, explored in their domain.”
“The focused struggle by the youths of N-Delta affected oil production and government, having noted the point of their agitation, opted to grant them amnesty. The reason was very succinct but that of Boko Haram is vague and they are faceless.
“Let me ask the Sultan, who has he identified as members and sponsors of Boko Haram that he wants Federal Government to grant amnesty to. If government concedes to such bogus request, will he be able to name those that will be granted amnesty,” he asked.
His words, “Or is amnesty to be granted to masquerades and Islamic fundamentalists from Mali, Algeria and Al-Qaida, who is the government going to dialogue with. What concrete efforts have the Sultan and other leaders of the north made to stem the violence by Boko Haram before calling for amnesty for the terrorists, who abhor Western education, but speak and send emails in English language.”
He asserted, “I read about four days ago that the leader of Boko Haram, Abu Shekarau said it is fight to finish. So from whose authority or where did Sultan become the mouthpiece of a faceless group. Boko Haram wants to Islamize Nigeria and abolish western education.”
“So it is premature to call for any well-meaning Nigerian to call for amnesty for the group. On the contrary, Nigeria should declare a war Boko Haram, as France did to Malian insurgents. The Federal Government should address its own problem before sending troops to Mali.”
King Dodo II in an interview said, “It is so disheartening that the Sultan and the Islamic leadership of Islamic affairs do not know what to do with the scourge of Boko Haram. However, I want to say that the Nigerian nation must know that Boko Haram is a terrorist group and should be regarded so.”
“This is because there is nothing they are fighting for, the Sultan and his people should be happy for a united Nigeria. How can a person of the statue of the Sultan openly say things or suggest things to the President that will jeopardize the Nigerian nation to tear it apart.
“Everyone knows about the cause of agitation of the youths of the Niger Delta, it was a sincere agitation and the Niger Delta youths never in a time invaded churches or mosques in the region, we should call a spade a spade,” he asserted.
His words, “Thanks to the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, for its timely opposition to the statement made by my colleague, but I still strong believe that, that callous statement can never be made by the Sultan. “
“But if he has done that, I strongly oppose his proposal to Mr. President. Mr. President should stand on his feet as president of this country to use his godly mind as ever before. The north should know that we are no fools or afraid of any one as citizens and owners of this country of ours.
“Do they take us for a fool? I am the highest oil producer in this country with nothing to show for it, the north is has 80 per cent of oil blocks in this country and we, the owners, have zero block. Do they think we do not know? Gone .are those days, they should be cautioned. . I advise the north to give President Jonathan the needed peace for him to actualise the dreams of Nigerians.
“Boko Haram should sheath their sword for the sake of one Nigeria. They should also know that the president has fathers too from where he comes from and I am one of the fathers. We as royal fathers should be cautious of our utterances. I have spoken,” he said.