Nigeria: President Rejects Calls for Amnesty for Boko Haram but says his government is open to dialogue / Africa News

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigerian has stated that his government cannot grant an amnesty to the terrorist group Boko Haram because the government does not known who its members are or what they want to achieve in their attacks.

President Jonathan said the Boko Haram terrorists are like ghosts, operating under cover with no identity.

President Jonathan was on his first official visit to the north-eastern region worst hit by the group’s insurgency since it began operation in 2009.

“On the issue of amnesty, you cannot declare amnesty for ghosts, Boko Haram are still operating as ghosts, you don’t see the person,” he told reporters in the city of Maiduguri which is considered to be the headquarters of Boko Haram.

“You cannot declare amnesty for people that are operating under a veil so we can’t even discuss the issue of amnesty, let them come, let them tell us their problems”, president Jonathan added.

Muslim leader the Sultan of Sokoto recently suggested that Boko Haram members should be offered an amnesty similar to that given to militants Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) in the oil-producing Niger Delta in 2009.

President Jonathan himself has come under intense criticisms in the north as some section of the people there feel he is not doing enough to curb the insurgency of Boko Haram.

Local political analysts in the north say his visit will have a significant impact as it shows his authority government has despite the activities of the militants.

It has been rumored that Boko Haram claims its members are fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria’s predominantly Muslim north but the group have not made any public pronouncement to the effect of this.

Amnesty International Has blamed the group for the deaths of some 1,400 people in central and northern Nigeria since 2009.

Issaka Adams / NationalTurk Africa News

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