TRAVESTY NOT AMNESTY

ImageIn recent times the media has been rife with stories clamouring for amnesty for the dreaded boko haram sect, an offer that has been totally rejected with leaders of the group claiming ignorance of any wrong doing and in a rather curious twist alleging that it is the Federal Government that deserves pardon from them, this is after over 3000 Nigerians have been murdered in cold blood since 2009.

Now it would seem that my stand as an individual and a citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would stem from my religion and the fact that I come from the south south of this country. However anyone who chooses to hold that opinion would be totally wrong.

 Internationally religious extremism is frowned at mainly because every individual is entitled to freedom of religion, nobody should be subjected to persecution because of what he chooses to worship or how, or if he chooses not to at all. It goes without saying so much that Islamic terrorists have carried out the most deadly attacks against innocent individuals the world over for a plethora of reasons. In the Nigerian scenario the boko haram sect and other terrorist groups have carried out bombings in an agitation against western education and enforcement of strict sharia law in the northern part of the country which has led to the death of so many Nigerians and a handful of foreigners.

The legitimacy of these actions have come into issue in our national discourse, and there’s no doubt in my mind that everyone feels threatened by the continued activities of people who seek to wipe out education. The very same education that successive Nigerian leaders have fought so hard to make the birthright of every Nigerian; how incredulous! The Government obviously is at a loss as to what to do and the average citizen especially in northern Nigeria sleeps wide eyed.

I’m tempted to now wonder if this fear is not the overriding consideration in this push by the northern elite leading for amnesty to quench the blood thirst of this marauding crusaders of anarchy, especially after they were fearlessly attacked. Everyone seems to be clamouring for amnesty now basically because it worked with the Niger Delta militants and there are fewer cases of kidnappings and general unrest in the south of the country.

This notwithstanding, we must look at the issue of amnesty dispassionately. As an Individual I was never totally in support of amnesty for the Niger Delta militants because I knew there would be ripple effects, this country being multi-cultural and with hundreds of ethnic groups and sub-groups. These clans would most certainly feel the need for agitation and surely there would never be a shortage of legitimate reasons.

It is true that for years even before amnesty was granted to militants in southern Nigeria, the north has had clusters of extremist militias but no one can deny that since the Niger Delta militants where granted amnesty the extremists up north got whipped into a frenzy and have upped their game, becoming more deadly and sophisticated.

The question now is what can be done? A full military solution seems untenable and only threatens our nascent democracy and social development but this wound called boko haram cannot be allowed to fester. If these terrorists are to be stopped then the Nigerian government must adopt a holistic intelligence gathering approach and our secret services must be fine tuned to deal with this threat to national security more effectively.

Naturally everyone is pointing towards amnesty as the wonder drug, I must be unequivocal in saying that amnesty would fail totally if granted to religious terrorists. Little wonder they rejected the federal governments offer, the presidency has to understand that this people have a mission that goes way beyond earthly gain, their vision is in tandem with the dream of every islamic terrorist; which is world domination through religion. They would not be dissuaded by money, even if these terrorists accept the amnesty being offered, it would only serve to aggravate the insecurity this country is already experiencing.

it must be made clear that the situation in the south of Nigeria was totally different from what we have up north. First, it is on notice that the militants had a very solid identifiable base to build their struggle on. Every seam of the fabric of the Nigerian economy today is sewn by revenue gotten from oil exploration activities in the Niger Delta which till this moment is not nearly as developed as it should be, the militants fought simply for a more equitable share of the oil wealth gotten from their farmland and rivers, they fought because these lands and rivers have been polluted to barreness and I must say amnesty has done little in terms of infrastructural development to recompense for the damage of years of exploitation. It is still left to be seen what good amnesty would do for the affected communities in the long run but at least the reformation and rehabilitation of those youths who were pushed to arms would have only positive effects on the polity in general.

It is trite to note that the northern states as with other parts of Nigeria for that matter thrived on agriculture and mining of several minerals before the oil boom began, after which everything was abandoned for the monthly allocations from the oligarchy in Abuja, guaranteed by the worlds insatiable desire for Nigerian crude. This has led to a generation of restive youths especially in the north from whence the boko haram sect has reared its head to strike fear into the heart of every Nigerian in the name of religion.

A couple of facts have to be considered in considering if amnesty would work in the north. First of all the struggle in the creeks of southern Nigeria was clearly against foreign multi-national oil companies operating and exploiting resources in the region and in most cases hostages were carted off with incidences of death or injury to innocent Nigerians reduced to the barest minimum and after negotiations these hostages where released unharmed, the doors and channels of dialogue was always kept open and the governors and elder statesmen of those states supported the federal government in ensuring the safety of Nigerian citizens in their jurisdictions.

The modus operandi of the Boko Haram militants on the other hand bother on mass murder and genocidal killings of our fellow countrymen, there is little regard for human life as suicide bombing is employed most times for full measure. The governors and rulers in the worst hit parts of northern Nigeria have either kept mum or said ineffectually little as they cow in awe of these terrorists. The few who dared say anything have been ruthlessly attacked with others watching from a safe distance until recently when they unwittingly jumped into the amnesty bandwagon.

Nigeria is now on the verge of granting amnesty to islamic terrorists. As if our designation as a banana republic is not bad enough we would now give aid to a murderous horde who require funding for training in bomb making skills all over the middle east to inflict further damage on innocent Nigerians. Criminals who should be charged with treason for threatening the person of the president openly!

The same boko haram sect that is suspected to have links with al qaeda would now receive financial aid from the government they are attacking to carry out terror within and outside Nigeria. Those supporting the call for amnesty for islamic terrorists should all be hanged, drawn and quartered for this travesty.
These greedy and myopic lot forget that the borders of this country are almost non-existent, eventually amnesty would be granted to terrorists from any part of Africa with a mastery of the hausa language. How do they imagine they would manage the pay outs? A faceless group with known members from as far up and out as Mali and Somalia. A terrorist organisation that employs the services of terrorists from other countries to kill their fellow countrymen.

As the Federal Government continues to entertain talks of amnesty for terrorists they should be reminded that every ethnic group in Nigeria has the capacity to hold the country hostage in return for the amnesty ransom because it has been made manifest that it pays to be violent, corrupt and inept in Nigeria.