The Presidency has denied that President Goodluck Jonathan declared amnesty for members of Boko Haram.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, said this while addressing State House correspondents yesterday that there was nowhere in the Democracy Day speech that President Jonathan mentioned amnesty for the group’s members.
Minister of Youth Development, Mr. Boni Haruna had last Thursday said Jonathan had announced amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect as part of his administration’s youth-friendly programmes and policies.
While giving an overview of the youth’s position in the present administration’s transformation agenda at a special event tagged “A day with young leaders of Nigeria” to mark the nation’s Democracy Day in Abuja, Haruna said series of integration programmes had been lined up for members of the sect who would surrender their arms and embrace peace. But Abati stressed that the President did not use any word like amnesty. The Presidential spokesman said what Jonathan said was that opportunity had been created for those who wanted to denounce terrorism through the Presidential Fact-Finding Committee and Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolutions of Conflict in the North Eastern part of Nigeria.
He said, “Let me refer you to the speech by the President. If you read the speech line-by-line, you will see that it contains the very message that the President wanted to put across. “In that speech, if you look at it I don’t think the President used amnesty. Instead he spoke about those who are willing to renounce terrorism and those who are willing to embrace peace. “Opportunities have been created for them through the Fact-finding Committee and through the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolutions of Conflict in the North Eastern part of Nigeria. So I will refer you basically to the speech by the President.”
On killing of the Emir of Gwoza, Alhaji Idrisa Timta, who was one of the three emirs ambushed by members of the sect on Biu-Azare-Garkida Road in Borno State, Abati said President Jonathan was saddened by the development.
The Presidential spokesman regretted that the incident had further portrayed the insurgents as people who are desperately threatening the peace and stability of the country. Abati said, “The President got the news and he was sad about it because what it means is that these terrorists who are threatening peace and stability in Nigeria, they are desperate and they continue to show that desperation.
“But as the President made it clear in his Democracy Day broadcast, that was his main message to Nigerians, that at the end of the day, it is the people of Nigeria that will prevail, no matter how desperate terrorists may be and that his government is determined to rid the country of terrorism. “The support, solidarity, the cooperation, the expression of partnership that we are receiving from our neighboring countries, the whole of the West African sub-region, Africa and the entire world shows that this is the battle that the whole world is prepared to fight. So, the days of peace, as the President said in his speech, are assured, because this battle will not end until it is won and sustainable development is fully guaranteed,” said Abati.