b-haramBarely one week to his inauguration as president, some northern leaders at the weekend asked president-elect, Muhammadu Buhari to grant amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect as soon as he assumes office.
The demand for amnesty was contained in a communiqué issued by the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development, SCDDD, signed by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, founder of SCDDD.
The development came after a two-day conference held in Abuja with the theme: “Security and Governance Challenges in Africa’s largest Democracy,” by SCDDD as part of its “Nigeria Beyond 2015 Project.”
The northern leaders, amongst other things, urged the Federal Government “to expedite action on the compensation of victims of Boko Haram terrorism and insurgency through the established and funded Victims’ Support Fund.”
The communiqué also called “for the establishment of a special economic programme for the affected states of the North-East, focusing on rehabilitation, resettlement and reconstruction,” as well as on the need for “the governors of the North-East States and indeed of the entire North, on the necessity for a blueprint that addresses the issues of vocational and skills-acquisition education for the youths.”
Others who also signed the communiqué included the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, CJN, Justice Mohammed Uwais (chairman of the occasion), Major General Ishola Williams, Executive Secretary, Pan-African Strategic and Peace Research Group, PAN-AFSTRAG, and Ambassador Abdullahi Omaki, executive director of Savannah Centre.
Other who participated in the conference were the National Security Adviser, NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki, rtd, (represented by Ambassador C.L. Olaseinde); the Secretary, Borno State Elders’ Forum, BSEF, Dr Bulama Gubio (who represented Governor Kashim Shettima).
Others were Dr. Zakariya Ousmane Ramadene of N’djamena, Chad, Prof. Abubakar Momoh, DG, Electoral Institute, INEC, Abuja and Professor Habu Galadima, Director of Research, NIPSS, Jos, Plateau State.
The Boko Haram Islamist sect has killed over 10,000 people and has displaced millions in its six years of violent campaign for an Islamist state in Northeastern Nigeria.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday recalls that Muhammadu Buhari was at the forefront of the call for amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect before he emerged as the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
At the peak of the war against the insurgents, Buhari had asked the Federal Government to stop the clampdown of Boko Haram insurgents, saying Niger Delta Militants were never killed or properties belonging to them destroyed.
However, the president-elect turned his back on the insurgents in the heat of the electioneering campaign when his support for amnesty for Boko Haram became an issue his critics used to campaign against him.
Speaking during his engagement in Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London in late February, Buhari ruled out amnesty for Boko Haram insurgents if elected President.
He said the activities of the sect which has so far killed over 13, 000 people since 2009, had become a source of worry to many people within and outside the country.

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