This is the official blog of the Nigeria-based Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), a human rights organization which promotes, protects and projects the rights of Muslims. This group condemns terrorism and all acts of violence. Its motto is 'Dialogue, Not Violence'
Sunday, April 7, 2013
AMNESTY: THE ONLY WAY FORWARD FOR NIGERIA
8th April, 2013
AMNESTY: ONLY WAY FORWARD FOR NIGERIA
President Jonathan recently set up a committee to look into the possibility or otherwise of granting amnesty to members of Boko Haram.
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) hereby welcomes this decision. We are of the opinion that this is a step in the right direction. We believe that the Nigerian president is now thinking like the president of the whole country. Only by granting amnesty to the Boko Haram group can the president reposition the country for peaceful coexistence.
We support amnesty because it stands for peace. Amnesty gives life, hope and recovery. On the contrary, continued hostility and pursuit of insurgents are characterized by death and general insecurity. Terrorists have one mindset, namely, to put asunder what government has put together, to destroy what government has built. Terrorists seek to cause as much havoc as possible in order to attract attention to their cause. President Jonathan needs all hands on deck to build a united Nigeria and a virile economy. Progress of any kind cannot be attained in a state of insecurity.
MURIC however urges the president to rely more on his civilian advisers than on the military. Just as lawyers will always encourage their clients to go to court instead of amicable settlement of disputes, soldiers, particularly top military officers who are not usually directly in the firing line, will always prefer prolonging armed struggle. Propelled by the desire to extend the fracas and for other obvious reasons, the military may not have been giving us correct figures of casualties from clashes between the military and Boko Haram.
We remind the Federal Government of the need to take a firm grip of the Boko Haram phenomenon and to make good use of the president's latest initiative before the military digs in deeper. The interest of the military's Joint Task Force (JTF) in prolonging insecurity in the North may be a bait for an eventual military coup. We further remind the Federal Government of the degradations suffered by the country in all sectors in the forty years of military rule. The military should never again be allowed to intervene in the running of government in Nigeria. We therefore charge President Jonathan to assert the civilian character of his regime by rebuffing the overbearing influence of the military in the Boko Haram imbroglio.
Once again we debunk the thesis of a faceless Boko Haram. The group cannot be faceless if some of their commanders have been arrested or killed as JTF always claims. The Boko Haram commanders who are in detention have names. So how can they be faceless? In the same vein, we dismiss the hypothesis of Boko Haram as ghosts. The faces of the leader of Boko Haram and that of his followers are usually shown in video clips and on the pages of newspapers. Ghosts do not appear in pictures or video.
In our synthesis, we assert that the thesis of a faceless Boko Haram and the hypothesis of a ghost Boko Haram are both products of shallow thinking and an attempt to railroad Nigerians into supporting extra-judicial killings, the violation of Allah-given and fundamental rights of Northerners and the systematic destruction of the economy of the North.
Nonetheless, we demand justice for the victims of the attacks. Widows and orphans of victims of the horrendous attacks must be properly compensated by the Federal Government. This includes rebuilding structures that have been bombed.
Finally, we remind the anti-amnesty camp of the serious implications of a total rejection of amnesty. This includes the possibility of escalation of violent attacks which may culminate in a second civil war with its dire consequences. A word is enough for the wise.
Professor Is-haq Akintola,
Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), 234-818-211-9714