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Saturday, 6 April 2013
Military Chiefs Angry With Boko-Haram Amnesty
A new plan by President Goodluck Jonathan to grant amnesty to members of
the violent Boko Haram sect has upset Nigeria’s military chiefs.
at the Presidential Villa, where the military brass met with the
President for several hours today, said they tried in vain to convince
Mr. Jonathan not to fall into the trap that has been set for him by
prominent northern leaders on the issue.
They were said to have
told him the security implications of the action and that it could also
be interpreted to mean that the President is not a man of his word. Mr.
Jonathan has flip-flopped on federal policy against Boko Haram since he
took office in 2010.
The military bosses reminded him of his
words when he visited Borno State a few weeks ago when he said that
there was no way he would grant amnesty to ghosts, stressing that
nothing has changed. Mr. Jonathan once said there were members of Boko
Haram in his government, but it is not clear if they are still ghosts or
he has identified them.
He was also said to have been reminded
that many of their men and other security officers have been
indiscriminately killed, warning him that telling the rank and file the
decision on amnesty could ignite anger in the barracks.
end of the lengthy discussion, which lasted for five hours, the
President had his way against the genuine advice of the military chiefs,
except one. He set up a committee to handle the issue of amnesty.
The committee, whose members are yet to be announced, is to work with the office of the National Security Adviser.
Presidential source said that the committee will consider the
feasibility or otherwise of granting pardon to the Boko Haram members
and collate the views of those clamouring for amnesty, as well as
recommend modalities for the granting of pardon should such a policy be
President Jonathan seems to have adopted the argument
of the northern elements after meeting with some of their prominent
members in Abuja on Wednesday night. Although today he seem highly
disposed to the amnesty idea, he is known to change his mind fairly