21 November 2011
In Nigeria, a presidential committee on terrorist attacks says the government should consider offering an amnesty to Islamist militants in the north similar to an amnesty ended separate violence in the oil-rich south.
The president named a committee to consider opening talks with the group. Among its recommendations is an amnesty for Boko Haram militants who renounce violence and give up their guns.
Borno State Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume [later arrested for financing the organization] was on that committee. “We made some far-reaching and strong recommendations which we feel, if implemented, will go a long way to solving the problem.," he said. "Throughout our committee work and our interaction with various stakeholders we discovered, one, that dialogue in this case is very necessary.”
So how might a Niger-Delta-style amnesty work for Boko Haram?
Niger Delta attorney Ignatius Onwuemele says the situations are entirely different. “Boko Haram is quite different because they are an amorphous group. They are faceless. Who are you going to discuss with? Because in terms of Niger Delta militants, the government was able to negotiate with a group, at least an identifiable group. But these ones you can
't identify them,” he stated.
Edward Oforomeh is a retired police officer in the
Delta State city of . He says granting amnesty to Boko Haram would be far more complicated than the Niger Delta because one of Boko Haram Warri 's principles is a rejection of Western education.
“A person who does not believe in Western education, if you want to grant him amnesty, what do you give him? Are you going to build more mosques for him? How do you train him?” Oforomeh asked.