By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
Former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmad, said yesterday that the Federal Government should grant general amnesty to the members of the Boko Haram sect if they meet the conditions that gave rise to pardoning Niger Delta militants in 2009.
Ahmad, however, expressed doubts whe-ther the sect members would ever come out and establish real contacts with the government with a view to facilitating genuine dialogue.
Ahmad, who was part of late President Yar’Adua’s team that midwifed the Niger Delta amnesty package in 2009, pointed out that unlike the Niger Delta militants who had a clear and definite demand, the sect’s agenda was unclear and confusing.
The former defence minister pointed out that the way Boko Haram members were operating had also made it difficult to establish contact with its leadership for any meaningful dialogue.
The former Head of Service of the Federation said: “In the case of the Niger Delta, it was possible for the government to establish contacts with their leaders, who were not in the creeks. They had a definite demand and territory, which made it easy for us to know that they wanted.
“But in the case of Boko Haram, they say they are in the Northeast but they are invisible. They are so invisible that you can hardly trace them even though they may be in your household.
“Secondly, the Boko Haram demand is not economically-based or a call for economic emancipation. Their demand is a religious one, which even the constituency of Boko Haram actors, Islam, is uncomfortable with.
The former SGF, who described the current security challenge in the nation as a dilemma, pointed out that it would be very difficult for the Federal Government to acquiesce to the demands of Boko Haram since the constitution does not authorise it to dabble into the religion of any Nigerian.
On how to stem to spate of insurgency across the country, Ahmad called on government at all levels to give more attention to gathering for the people instead of promoting personal interest at the expense of the majority of the citizens.
“The government must do more to cater for the youths in order to entice them to keep off evil ways and embrace what is right for the society. The only way to do that is through job creation, poverty alleviation and massive education of the people,” the former government scribe said.
On how President Jonathan can succeed and move the nation forward, Ahmad said that the President should learn to be a statesman and a father to the nation by being bold enough to look critically at his team and get advisers who can advise him patriotically.