By SAM EYOBOKA
NORTHERN Christians under the aegis of Christian Elders Forum of Northern States have expressed disgust at the unholy silence of the Federal Government over the plight of victims of Boko Haram violence while it is pursuing amnesty programme for the Islamic insurgents.
A communiqué signed by NOSCEF Chairman, Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye and his Secretary General, Iliya Yusuf after the group’s recent annual conference in Abuja, stated that there should be no discussion of amnesty for Boko Haram until all the victims of the violence have been adequately compensated, adding that thousands of Christian businesses were ruined, over 1,500 Christian lives, innocent lives wiped out.
“Government is not saying anything about compensation to be paid to the victims of Boko Haram. We want to say that it is government’s constitutional duty to protect lives and property of its citizens.
Why is government not talking about pardon to Boko Haram but amnesty? How could you be begging the offender to accept amnesty and welfare packages while saying nothing about their victims?” the communiqué asked.
The forum also reiterated its call for a ministry of Northern Minorities Commission, adding that about 70 per cent of Northern States fall within the minority tribes and “these minority tribes are marginalized, deliberately underdeveloped. This situation must not continue. We urge the Federal Government to set up Northern Minorities Commission run as a full ministry with its allocations.”
On the clamour for 2015 elections, the Northern Christian Elders opined that there cannot be any election in 2015 until the authorities have adequately created a veritable secured atmosphere for credible election, arguing that the level and sophistication of weapons in the hands of individuals is very alarming.
The forum resolved that while Northern Christians will not form a Christian political party, efforts should be made to seek parties that will attend to the interest of members. According to the group, the era of ‘use and dump’ is over, noting that “all Christians must go back home to do grassroots mobilization to ensure that people go out en mass to vote. Those who have shown no concern to our plight should not bother to discuss 2015 electioneering with us.”
The forum suggests that the rotation of gubernatorial seat among the three senatorial districts should be enshrined in the Constitution.