Nigeria: Conditions For A Federal Government Amnesty For Boko Haram, By Peregrino Brimah
The two conditions for amnesty are:
- Any amnesty can only apply to terrorists who have no blood on their hands and have never raped.
- Any amnesty must never include remuneration in any form whatsoever.
Not repeating prior blunder: while the necessity for urgent address is recognized in the then Yar’Adua government’s decision to offer an amnesty to the Niger Delta terrorists, the blunder of that project is also now well realized. Learning from that catastrophe, which has led to a state of government stipend-dependent, unproductive restive youth with quite a number returning to part and fulltime militancy including high sea piracy and other anti-social behaviours like oil bunkering and illegal refining, we recognize that such a blanket approach is irresponsible and frankly reckless.
Indeed the compensatory approach to addressing the MEND terror crisis has been pointed in the aetiology of Boko Haram, Ombatse and other senseless terrorist formations.
Taking additional notes from history; during what was tagged the “black decade” in Algeria, which lasted from 1991-1999, the northern African nation went through a similar saga akin to the Boko Haram crisis of the Nigerian Jonathan era. In that instance, the Algerian government gave a conditional amnesty: only terrorists who had never killed or raped were granted state pardon in what was known as the Civil Harmony Act of July, 1999.
As a handful of northern elite, a northern governor and an ex-president from the southwest ask for an amnesty, while we refrain from querying their motives, we strongly advice that these prerequisites are factored in any consideration of such decree.
Importantly, any form of amnesty must not include what would be reverse Diyya, i.e. Compensation for terror instead of compensation to the victims.
We believe that no human, civilian or government has the authority to forgive a murderer apart from the direct victim. Only if all victims, which means the entire victims of Boko Haram murders and rapes in the northeast agree to accept blood money from the terrorists (not from the state) can they be pardoned. Otherwise the Federal government of Nigeria morally and constitutionally lacks the authority to pardon murderers and rapists. This is important to note.
While a conditional amnesty can be considered, considering the numbers of trained terrorists, as it would be better to advise them to surrender than plan to kill all 10 or as many as 20,000, the offer must candidly call those surrendering to come to justice. Murderers and rapists will drop their arms and face the full consequences of their actions as stated in the law. They may be allowed however to opt for a Shariah court corporal sentencing. Those not guilty of murder or rape must drop their arms and submit to deradicalization camps or prisons.
No ex-Boko Haram terrorist will receive any form of remuneration or other financial, technical or social compensation not equally available for all law abiding Nigerian youth. On the contrary, Civilian-JTF for instance who have illustrated exemplary altruistic patriotism can be compensated and given priority in offers of government support in terms of training and other facilities.
Terror must be discouraged without compromise.