Amnesty is the act of an authority officially forgiving certain classes of persons who are subject to trial but have not yet been convicted. It includes more than pardon in as much as it obliterates all illegal remembrance of the offence. Amnesty is more and more used to express freedom and the time when prisoners can go free. Amnesty may be extended when the authority decides that bringing citizens into compliance with a law is more important than punishing them for past offences.
Nigerian government recently announced her intention to offer amnesty to the dreaded terrorist organization, Boko Haram, which happens to be rated the deadliest terror group in the world as rated by the Global terrorism index in 2015. Boko Haram has displaced 2.3 million people from their homes and killed tens of thousands of people through suicide bombing, bombing of public places including the UN building in Abuja, police buildings, military barracks, etc. In the month of March 2015, Boko Haram leader Abubakar shakau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and rebranded as Islamic state of West Africa. One wonders how Nigerian government would grant amnesty to such a terror group.
A group that has killed thousands of innocent people, including the young, the old, females and males from different parts of West Africa in the name of demanding for an Islamic state, a quest anchored on violence and terror. It was rumoured that Boko Haram is sponsored by the political elites from northern Nigeria for the single purpose of securing power. Now they have secured the power, but the group has grown beyond their control, it has even pledged allegiance to ISIS. This is the same group of people that the political elites from the north want to use tax payer’s money to pay them off.
Nigerian government should know that Boko Haram is now an international terror group which must be solved internationally and not locally because it operates in countries like Niger, Chad, and Cameroun etc. if amnesty is granted without considering the lives and properties of the Nigerians lost to the activities of this dreaded terrorist group then it is absolute injustice to Nigerians in particular and humanity in general. It also means that the Nigerian government is prompting and encouraging terrorism and arms conflicts. It may not go down well with the Nigerian society.
Compare this amnesty to Boko Haram with the treatment meted out to the peaceful Indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB) demanding the restoration of the sovereign state of Biafra. The Nigerian government sent her soldiers to kill the innocent and unarmed IPOB, the same treatment was meted to the Shiites Muslims who were in procession on the streets of Kaduna demanding the release of their leader. In each case, thousands of peaceful Protesters were killed and nothing happened, nobody was held accountable.
It is now clear that Nigerian government sponsored Boko Haram to wrestle power from the south when the northern political elites were not in power. Boko Haram was used to secure power from former president- Goodluck Jonathan, and now that they can’t be controlled anymore, the government want to use amnesty and taxpayers money to pay them off. But it should be known to Nigerian government that granting amnesty to Boko Haram is a call for peaceful groups in the country to carry arms and terrorize innocent people with the hope of being treated in like manner.