The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, has advised the proponents of amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect not to politicize the issue but rather take a cue from how the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta was brokered by initiating contacts with the leadership of the sect and convince them to come out in the open and dialogue with government.
Okupe gave this admonition yesterday in a press statement issued in Abuja. According to him, President Goodluck Jonathan has nothing to gain from the continuity of the wanton destruction of life and property by members of the sect and expects leaders of thought in the affected states to prevail on the leadership of the sect to abandon their destructive pursuit and embrace dialogue, like the militants in the Niger Delta did before amnesty was granted.
The Senior Special Assistant also warned against politicising the issue of amnesty and the intent to use it to blackmail the president: “There is, therefore, no need for the politicisation of the demand for amnesty, or blackmailing the president for taking strong, patriotic but contrary views to those of some of our respected elders. Such, sometimes is the nature of statecraft and in many parts of the civilised world, a situation like this is handled with equanimity and further deepening of consultation, certainly not acrimonious misunderstanding or open hatred.
“The true expectation is that our respected leaders will go back to the drawing board and increase internal consultation and networking with the aim of reaching out to the leadership of the insurgents and convincing them to do the needful and step out to be counted,” the statement said.