Sunday, March 11, 2012

Panel Recommends Amnesty for Boko Haram Members

Daily Champion
8 March 2012

Federal Government yesterday approved the White Paper of the Presidential Committee on Security Challenges in the North East Zone.

Maku said the White Paper covered most of the areas the committee had touched in the report and most of its recommendations have been accepted by government.

The committee had recommended the renunciation of all forms of violence by the Islamic sect to enable the Federal government to commence negotiation with it.

The report had recommended that "the federal Government should fundamentally, consider the option of dialogue and negotiation which should be contingent upon the renunciation of all forms of violence and surrender of arms to be followed by a rehabilitation programme on the side of government.

"The federal government should create an informal forum at the highest level, where Mr. President will discuss national security issues with governors and other stakeholders from time to time. Again, there is an urgent need for arranging an informal forum where Mr. President will grant audience to each state governor on one-to-one basis where issues on security, could be addressed.

"The federal government should diversify and strengthen its means of creating avenues for international intelligence sharing and inter-agency cooperation through diplomatic channels/pacts.

"The committee had also recommended that government at all levels should, as a matter of priority initiate and design appropriate programmes to address the issue of unemployment in the zone, saying that it was of the view that the ongoing trial of police officers linked to the murder of Mohammed Yusuf, the sect leader and some of his followers should be expedited and publicized to convince the public of government's sincerity on the matter.

"The federal government and Borno State government should ensure that human and organizational victims, most especially, churches and mosques including schools, which were destroyed during the religious crisis in the past and even in the recent past, should be compensated monetarily and by way of resuscitating and reconstructing their properties. Survivors of the deceased victims should be compensated appropriately."

The committee also urged government to consider the scope of the present assignment to cover all security challenges facing the nation, saying that this view was informed by comments, suggestions and counsel made by many concerned individuals to the committee in the course of interactions with stakeholders including the governors of Borno, Bauchi, Kano, Niger and Sokoto States.

"Therefore government may consider constituting another committee with wider power and with an increased membership to handle the assignment within a reasonable timeframe but not weeks as was given to this committee. The committee's power should include dialogue and negotiation with the Ja'amatus Ahlus Sunnah Lid Daawatis Wal Jihad (Boko Haram) who have to our understanding, indicated their desire to have the sultan of Sokoto or his representatives as well as the Emir of Bauchi and Sheik Abubakar Gero Argungu as part of any such new committee," the committee posited.

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