April 22, 2013

Why Northern leaders shun amnesty committee

Why Northern leaders shun amnesty committee

*Say we ‘re afraid Boko Haram members may come after us


Possible reasons emerged, yesterday, why some prominent northern leaders invited by President Goodluck Jonathan to work in the Boko Haram amnesty committee, might have rejected the offer without looking back.

Vanguard learnt from some members of the committee, yesterday, that they did did not want to serve in the committee over fear of being attacked by the sect members.

Besides, Vanguard was reliably informed that the members felt slighted  that the President did not consult them to seek their consent before announcing their names as members of the controversial committee.

A member of the committee, who spoke in confidence said, “I can tell you that we were shocked to see our names on the amnesty committee without any prior information from the Presidency that put our names there.

“We believe that the right thing was not done in this matter because courtesy demands that those whose names were mentioned by the President as members of the amnesty committee should have been first contacted to seek their consent.
“I think we should begin to act sensibly in this country so that we can make progress as a nation.

“As far as we are concerned the amnesty thing was not properly thought through and we are afraid it might not achieve the intended result.


The member, who said he was being careful not to plunge himself and family members into avoidable confrontation with members of the Boko Haram sect by accepting the Federal Government offer to serve on the committee, however, said that he and some other members had opted to watch as events unfold.

According to him, his wife and children were uncomfortable with his membership of the committee and had pleaded with him to turn down the offer immediately.

Another member confessed: “I’m watching events as they unfold before making my mind to accept the offer to serve on the committee because we do not know what the reaction of the BH sect members would be.

“Some of us are afraid the sect may attack us and our families if we accept to serve on the committee.

The sources pointed to what happened shortly after former President Olusegun Obasanjo had in liaison with some northern leaders took the lead to broker peace with the sect leaders and it backfired.

Already, two members of the committee, Dr. Ahmed Datti and Shehu Sanni have rejected the offer to serve on the committee, while more were said to be planning to follow suit.

It would be recalled that the Presidency last week raised a 26-member body to plan for the disarmament of the sect within two months and the payment of compensation to victims of the sect’s numerous attacks in parts of the north.

The move followed strident pleas by prominent northern leaders under the aegis of Northern Elders’ Forum, NEF, on the Presidency to pardon the sect as a means of restoring elusive peace to the region, whose economy was on the brink of collapse.

The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Abubakar 111, also lent his voice to the Boko Haram amnesty, a call that triggered verbal war from some Christian leaders and groups especially from the north.