BY NDAHI MARAMA, with agency report
Faction rejects FG’s offer
MAIDUGURI— Islamic sect, Boko Haram has said that the Shura Council, the highest decision-making organ of the sect led by Imam Abubakar Ibn Shekau, which has the power to decide whether the sect will accept the offer of amnesty being planned by the Federal Government is yet to take a decision on the offer even as another faction of the sect has publicly rejected the amnesty saying the group did not ask for it.
The Federal Government last week set up a committee to look at the feasibility or otherwise of granting amnesty to the sect members in a bid to put an end to the spate of violence in the North.
Spokesman of a faction of the sect, Abu Dardam, however, spoke on the Hausa service of the BBC that the group was rejecting the offer of amnesty by the government. The group also said that it will not accept the amnesty which the Governor Alhaji Kashim Shettima promised to offer them.
Abu Dardam stated that the group was rejecting the amnesty because they don’t recognize democracy as a form of government and that the group does not agree with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, arguing that justice can only be found in the Holy Quran, that is Shariya system of government.
Borno Govt appeals for peace
Borno State Commissioner of Home Affairs Information and Culture Mr. Hyeladi Inuwa Bwala, in his reaction appealed to the group to see reason and embrace dialogue with a view to restoring lasting peace in BornoState. He noted that most wars and crisis in the world were settled mostly through dialogue, and therefore called on the group to see wisdom in the amnesty offer and come to a round table for dialogue.
Imam Abubakar Ibn Shekau-led Boko Haram, however, said only its highest decision-making organ, Shura Council has the power to take a decision whether or not to accept the amnesty. A credible source close to the sect explained that the Shura Council is Boko Haram’s apex council and highest decision-making organ of the sect while all cells of the organization are represented in the council.
The source explained that everything about the proposed amnesty would be deliberated upon and thereafter subjected to the group’s Islamic theology and jurisprudence
According to the source, “Shura Council may surprise Nigerians, because they may agree and may not agree. It depends on their understanding and Islamic theology and the jurisprudence they are following. They are above what people think about them, they are highly ideological and hold their beliefs high. They are committed Mujahideens and highly committed to their cause. I know this rather well.” The source disclosed that the Shura Council would act according to the tenets of their faith.
Gunmen attack church in Maiduguri
Meanwhile, some gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram sect yesterday attacked the Ekliziyar Yan’uwa a Nigeriya (Church of Brethren), also known as EYN in Bulumkutu ward of Maiduguri, the Borno state capital injuring one policeman even as another set of gunmen abducted a former chairman of Abadam local council of Borno state, Alhaji Mustapha Gadobe,, weekend and demanded N50 million ransom from the state government or he will be killed.
Vanguard gathered that the gunmen who attacked the church came in a Keke Napep (tricycle) at about 11:02am when the service was going on opening fire on the JTF troops deployed to the church to protect lives of and property. JTF troops however repelled the attack and in the process a policeman was injured on his leg.
According to an eye witness, “the gunmen numbering about five came on a tricycle and started shooting at the JTF security personnel attached to the church, but the JTF responded swiftly.”
When contacted on phone for confirmation, the JTF Spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa confirmed the incident.
He said at about 11am, some Boko Haram suspects attempted to attack the JTF location at the EYN church in Bulumkutu ward of Maiduguri Metropolis, but were repelled, pointing out that one policeman sustained gunshot injury on his leg. The problem was treated and immediately discharged from the hospital.
The abducted former council boss, Gadobe was said to have been kidnapped near a Maiduguri suburb, Wadiya by the gunmen who hurriedly bundled him into his Toyota FJ Cruiser and drove off to unknown destination.
Vanguard authoritatively gathered that a serving member of Borno state house of Assembly was currently handling the negotiation between the kidnappers and Borno state government.
A top political appointee informed our Correspondent in confidence that the abductors threatened to kill their hostage when the said mediator offered a N3 million cash payment as against the N50 million earlier demanded.
‘We learnt that the family members of the former council chairman and the mediator had on Saturday offered to pay N3 million an offer that was said to have angered the kidnappers who vowed to kill Gadobe should such ridiculous amount be mentioned again’, said the source.
It was further learnt that another offer of N10 million was yesterday advanced to the abductors which was still turned down.
A top official of the DSS confirmed the abduction to Vanguard on phone but declined giving details of steps being taken to rescue the kidnapped politician.
Embrace peace initiative —Atiku tells militia groups
In a related development former Vice President Atiku Abubakar urged members of the Boko Haram sect to embrace taking advantage of the constitution of an Amnesty Committee on the insurgency by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Reacting to the weekend attack on the private residence of the Adamawa State Deputy Governor, Bala James Ngillari by some armed men and the massacre of policemen in Bayelsa State, the former Vice President in a statement yesterday urged the militia groups in the country to lay down their arms, saying not laying down arms portend grave consequences for the country.
The former presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP who noted that aggrieved members of any society have the right to express their grievances, but warned that taking up arms and killing other citizens was the most bizarre way of expressing such grievances.
Atiku Abubakar who noted that no government can condone such a recourse to impunity as it undermines national stability and cohesion, said, ‘’Armed groups in the country should take the full advantage of the window of opportunity of a peace deal being put together by the Federal Government to negotiate for a peaceful conflict resolution.”