National Publicity Secretary of the Arewa Consultative Forum, Anthony Sani, has said the proposed amnesty for members of the extremist Islamic sect, Boko Haram, should not stop the consideration of compensation for victims of the sect’s activities.
He said this in a telephone interview with our correspondent,on Sunday.
The ACF secretary said it was important for all Nigerians to give the committee, set up by the Federal Government a chance to succeed.
According to him, since the objective of setting up the committee is to find a lasting solution to the insurgency, it was important for all, who have useful suggestions to make, to come forward.
Sani said, “The setting up of a committee to look at the viability of granting amnesty is the beginning of a process. It is alright to consider compensation for victims. The amnesty is to stop the violence, it does not stop compensation for victims. Nigeria should also have a counter-terrorism strategy.
“What we should be concentrating on now is how to achieve lasting peace. If the Federal Government is making an offer, it has to make it with conditions; it is not going to be unconditional.
“I agree with those who say we should look at the demands the implications so that the President will have the correct data to work with.”
Also speaking on the issue, civil society groups equally urged the Federal Government to consider compensation for victims of the violent campaigns of the sect.
Convener of the group of Concerned Northern Politicians, Academics, Professionals and Businessmen, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, and the Executive Director of the Civil Rights Congress, Malam Shehu Sani, made the demand in separate telephone interviews with our correspondent on Sunday.
They both argued that for justice to be served, it was desirable for the losses of victims to be considered.
Sani said, “What do we do to take care of orphans and widows created by this insurgency? It is also then that we can then talk about amnesty.
“There will not be a let off of this violence until the leader of the sect, Abubakar Shekau, gives a clear directive to his own men and it is only on that basis. And the only way the commission can be of value is to reach out to him and to reach out to the leaders of the insurgents so that a ceasefire can be extracted, without a cease fire we are simply wasting our time.”
Mohammed on the other hand said, “It will be unfair to give amnesty to the perpetrators and do nothing about victims of the insurgency.”
“Most of them who lost their lives and livelihoods to the insurgency, those of them who lost their jobs, are to be rehabilitated so that they can be responsible members of the society so that they can now make their own contributions to society.”