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'
Monday, April 1, 2013
NIGERIAN PRESIDENT PLAYING POLITICS WITH AMNESTY
2nd April, 2013
PRESIDENCY PLAYING POLITICS WITH AMNESTY
Against the background of guerilla style warfare involving bombings, drive-by shootings and attacks on police stations resulting in the deaths of hundreds of people, there have been demands for the declaration of amnesty for the Boko Haram group which is largely blamed for the attacks. The Presidency yesterday repeated its now very familiar rhetoric thatamnesty could not be granted to Boko Haram "because it is a faceless group".
The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) regards this as a lame excuse for prolonging the military onslaught on the North. We reject the idea that Boko Haram is faceless because this is just not true. We are aware that the media has received and used video tapes of the Boko Haram group on several occasions. The pictures of the group and that of their leader have also been published on the pages of some Nigerian newspapers.
One Abubakar Shekau has claimed to be the group's leader. Though the faces of others were always covered, the leader has not been known to wear any mask, nor does he make any attempt to hide his identity. It is our contention that 'ghosts' do not appear in video tapes. Neither do their pictures appear on the pages of newspapers. Aso Rock must have its own definition of 'ghosts'. The presidency's claim that Boko Haram is faceless is therefore baseless, unfounded and dishonest.
MURIC also sees a booby trap in the call by the presidency that Northern leaders should identify Boko Haram. This is as good as setting the North against itself. It is a most unpatriotic call. It is sectional, parochial and self-defeating. The presidency seems to be working on the premise that the Boko Haram phenomenon is a Northern affair. This is a myopic stand. We are constrained to remind Mr. President that the whole country is his constituency.
Aso rock is suffering from poverty of statesmanship. A statesman will jettison personal ego and political rigmarole in his search for peace. But this presidency does not appear keen on ensuring peace and stability in Northern Nigeria. On the contrary, Aso Rock seems to have a robust appetite for inflicting suffering on innocent civilians and destroying the economy of a section of the populace.
We urge Aso Rock to put an immediate halt to its hocus pocus. All it takes to stop the carnage is a public statement from the presidency promising that any leader or member of Boko Haram who comes out for talks will not be arrested. That will mark the beginning of peaceful negotiations and the end of senseless waste of human lives. The onus is on the presidency to prove its political maturity.
Professor Is-haq Akintola,
Director, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), 234-818-211-9714