Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, on Monday gave conditions on how the Boko Haram sect could be granted amnesty to curtail its current attacks on innocent Nigerians.
Ahmed said the members of Boko Haram should first come out from their hiding for identification and also, tell Nigerians their grievances which prompted their attacks on the country and thereby paving the way for dialogue with the federal government.
Fielding questions from journalists during his monthly interactive session tagged: ‘Governor Explains’ in Ilorin, the governor said: “If all these facts can be tabled by the Boko Haram sect to the government for dialogue, then it will be worthwhile to consider the pardon being canvassed for them in some certain quarters in the country.”
Ahmed, however, said dialoguing with the members of the sect could result in amnesty programme and thus bring about peace, justice and equity.”
The governor, who condemned the destructive activities of the group which included wanton destruction of lives and property, added that Boko Haram activities negated principles and tenets of Islam as a religion.
He said the insecurity issue in the country was unprecedented, and therefore called for an unusual solution to the problem, urging the group to come out from hiding and place their grievances against the Nigerian system and people on the table for discussion.
The governor also called on Nigerians not to politicise the current insecurity issue in the country, adding that what matters most is to find all avenues to restore peace in the country.
He further alleged that deprivation of land was the grievances of militants in the Niger Delta region which made them to frustrate oil exploration in the area, and noted that amnesty given to them was a possible part to peace.
Ahmed said the suggestion of amnesty programme for members of the religious sect did not translate to support for all bad groups that may rear their ugly heads to attract amnesty, adding that the Boko Haram members must bring cogent issues to the dialogue table for discussion.
Meanwhile, the governor disclosed that street begging in the state had been proscribed, stressing that residents are only allowed to earn their means of livelihood as stipulated by law of which street begging is not part of it.
He said the decision to ban street begging across the state became necessary because of the increasing number of beggars on the streets as a result of their evacuation from other states such as Lagos which he said is unacceptable.
“Everybody must be seen to be working within the ambit of the law,” he said.
Also, worried by the peace that had eluded some parts of the North in the country, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) yesterday appealed to the federal government to reconsider its decision and grant amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect.
This, association said, would go a long way of bringing peace to the region and thereby boost the socio-economic development of the region.
The NBA, Ilorin chairman, Mr. Rafiu Balogun, made the appeal yesterday during the opening of the 2013 biennial continuing legal education retreat for members of the association in Ilorin.
He said the amnesty should be granted if it would abate the wanton destruction of lives and property occasioned by the sect members.
According to him, “Whether the Boko Haram are faceless or they are unknown should not constitute a stumbling block to the settlement process”.
He said, “We need to get the killing of innocent Nigerians behind us as soon as possible”.
The legal practitioner, who said efforts of the federal government through the JTF operations to curb the menace are yet to yield desired peace, said, “why then can we not exploit other means, if it will bring a lasting peace to the region?”
Balogun charged political class to find solutions to problems militating against growth and development in the country and come up with policies that will alleviate sufferings among Nigerians, rather than to be preoccupied with agenda on how to remain in power.
He also appealed to the federal government not to implement the purported plan of fuel price increase in the interest of the masses of the country.
Balogun said the country was still battling with problems such as insecurity, unemployment, epileptic power supply and corruption, noting that SURE-P scheme is not transparent enough.