…Agitations over amnesty committee unnecessary -Group

The United Niger Delta Energy Development Security Strategy (UNDEDSS), a coalition of all ethnic and political pressure groups in the Niger Delta region, has said the agitations trailing the Amnesty Committee set up by the Federal Government are unnecessary. Addressing newsmen in Lagos, its Secretary-General, Mr. Tony Uranta described the agitations and criticisms that have trailed the Amnesty Committee as uncalled for, saying, “I am amused at the level of agitation over the Federal Government’s decision to set up a committee to work out modalities for a possible amnesty to Boko Haram.”

The Federal Government, on April 4, 2013, set up a committee on the proposed amnesty for members of the Islamic terror group, Boko Haram, to work with the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to consider the feasibility or otherwise of granting pardon to the sect members. Uranta, who said the Federal Government’s step was good but could only be feasible if the Boko Haram ended hostilities, reminded that “the United Nations has recommended Disarmament, Demobilisation and Rehabilitation (DDR) phases as an integral part of amnesty-granting, which must be preceded by armistice.”

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While admitting that “terrorism is a global phenomenon and the trend will not cease merely because we are Nigeria,” the scribe, however, cautioned that there was no need for criticisms over the amnesty committee when people had not understood its terms of reference. The UNDEDSS secretary general reiterated that the terrorist threat to Nigeria was not merely a Nigerians-driven one but influenced from beyond the country, just as he saw the committee issue as government showing putative goodwill but foresaw the whole thing being an exercise in futility because of the fundamentals of this type of sectarian terrorism worldwide.

“I do not think the FGN is oblivious to this frighteningly sad reality but I join every sane Nigerian to pray for an end to this wanton mass murders currently going on,” insisting, however, that “only the restructuring of Nigeria can truly guarantee an end to terrorism in the nation.”__ Last year, President Goodluck Jonathan made what many saw as a policy about-turn when he approved the setting up of a committee to consider proposals for granting amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect to end its uprising that had left thousands of people dead since 2009.

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