BY GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
BENIN—WITH a committee set up by the Federal Government to explore the possibility of granting amnesty to members of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, Catholic clergy, Anthony Cardinal Okogie, has advised the government to be cautious in its approach to finding solutions to the security crisis in the country by ensuring that justice prevails.
Condemning the wanton destruction of lives and property of Nigerians by the sect, Okogie said it would be callous of the President to rush into granting amnesty to members of the sect without due consideration of the legal, moral and political implications of such a move, which he noted might send a wrong signal that there was nothing wrong in using criminality to fight perceived injustice.
Okogie, in a statement by Rev. Father Stephen Okojie, Director of Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Benin, Edo State, said: “I am not against considering amnesty if the situation warrants it. But as it is, on what basis are we calling for amnesty for Boko Haram?
“We have to be cautious about the way we go about it. I have continued to ask these questions: Who are the members of this sect who thrive on human blood? Are they truly Nigerians? What exactly do they want? Why don’t they make themselves available for discussion with representatives of the Federal Government?
“Until we can be given answers to some of these questions, amnesty should not be a subject for discussion. Even the Bible recommends dialogue as a way out of disputes. Granting amnesty to a faceless group that consistently fails to dialogue with you is a mockery. Besides, how do we compensate all those who have lost their loved ones in the over two years of carnage? These are issues we need to address.”
He chided the Federal Government for allowing the security crisis in the country to linger for so long and failing to take decisive steps to nip the insurgency in the bud at its early state, saying it was now almost impossible to separate the true members of the sect and their demands, from those who are taking advantage of the imbroglio to score cheap political points at the expense of human lives.
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