- Don’t use Niger-Delta oil money to grant foreigners amnesty, says Ann Kio-Briggs
The presidency has said granting amnesty to the Boko Haram insurgents will make them drop their arms and embrace peace which will in turn stop bloodshed and save resources for the country.
It also explained that President Muhammadu Buhari has remained silent over his second term ambition because his focus was to deliver good governance to the country.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, in an interview in Abuja, said President Buhari’s achievements would give him victory in 2019 if he decides to contest.
Shehu also told some retired army generals that had ruled the country in the past who had advised him to drop second term ambition to summon the courage and contest against the president, stressing that President Buhari would defeat all of them.
On the assertion that President Buhari was shielding herdsmen from prosecution and even begging them to accept amnesty, he argued that if the terrorists should embrace amnesty, it would stop the killings in the polity.
He said: “Well, I hope you also realise that the social media has brought a lot of good things to the world and it has also brought a lot of problems not only in Nigeria but everywhere in the world.
“Nations of the world are talking about regulations and control, this is happening in Germany in the United Kingdom even the United States you see that a lot these technology companies are been fined for infringements that they cause.
“The thing is that there is a tendency to see things from a negative point of view when your point of view is shaped and colored by the social media.
“It’s always been heard that the default position of the social media itself is to be negative, so people have turned out to ignore grand reality and project images that are very negative.
“Otherwise I wonder , this is an administration that has done so extremely well and to a president who has sworn to an oath to defend the constitution and protect every life and property, it is very unfair and uncharitable to say that he will shield anybody, and in any case, the president controls only one layer of authority, what are the governors doing, is the social media also saying that the governors are protecting the herdsmen from the law, are they saying the local government are also protecting them?
“You see it has to take everyone at various levels of authority to shield somebody from the law in those circumstances, and the president himself, his passion is for the country, this is a president whose passion is not even for the office, even when everyone is asking him to go for a second term he is keeping quiet because his focus remains the nation and the problem of the country.
“Whoever is peddling these rumours that Boko Haram is being granted amnesty and so on I would ask them who doesn’t want to make peace with the enemy? In any case as it is proverbially said all wars end up in the boardroom. You can defeat people technically in the field but at the end you must come to the conference room to resolve all issues.
“So if Boko Baram would lay down their arms and stop fighting and stop preaching that negative ideology, the country should be able to embrace them, welcome all of them so that they continue to live normal lives and be useful to the nation. What that means is that we will be saving cost, saving lives that are being lost through bombing, killing of service personnel and we will be saving money that we are using to procure weapons so that such money can go into services and infrastructure and welfare of the citizens of this country. It is a win -win situation.”
However, an environmental rights activist and Convener of Niger-Delta Self-Determination Movement (NDSDM), Madam Ann Kio-Briggs, has opposed amnesty for Boko Haram, saying that doing so would amount to the government admitting that Nigeria has failed and it is incapable of saving Nigerians from torrorists and foreign invaders.
Noting that the government had repeatedly described Boko Haram insurgents and killer herdsmen as foreigners, she wondered why the government would turn around to grant such people amnesty.
She warned that such amnesty should not be funded with oil resources of the Niger Delta.
Her words: ”Boko Haram has owned up to being a terrorist group. It has declared its support and affiliation to the ISIS, a renowned world terrorist organisation. If the government wants to grant amnesty to a terrorist group, I think this country is finished. It means kidnappers, armed robbers and other criminals can be granted amnesty.
“This government wants Nigerians to believe that Boko Haram will embrace amnesty. I hope they don’t want to use Niger Delta oil money for the amnesty programme. Government has told us repeatedly that Boko Haram are foreigners. By wanting to grant amnesty to Boko Haram, the government has admitted that Nigeria has failed and it has no capacity to protect Nigerians. We have killer herdsmen all over the place. Foreigners have invaded Nigeria and the best the government can do is to grant them amnesty. That is why we in the Niger Delta want referendum. Restructuring would have been good but since the core North does not want restructuring, we want referendum.”