Sheikh Ahmad Lemu has expressed optimism that the Presidential committee on the proposed amnesty for the dreaded Boko Haram sect set up on Thursday by President Goodluck Jonathan would unveil the membership of the sect.
Speaking in an interview with Channels Television monitored in Minna, the respected Islamic cleric said that the lack of confidence in pervious government moves and fear of possible arrest and pesecution may have informed the leaders and members of the group going to hidden.
He however expressed hope that the insurgence being experienced in some northern states would soon come to an end, as committee intends to unveil the group and restore peace back to the region.
According to the Cleric, the setting up of the committee would help to enliven mutual trust between the government and the sect, stressing that the government action has created platform for sincere and geniune dialogue with the sect.
Lemu argued that dialogue and not force remains the only way out of the security challenges in the northern part. Faulting the opposition of the leadership of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to federal government move to grant amnesty to members of Boko Haram, Lemu said government’s olive branch to the dreaded sect was the best, insisting that the use of brute force will be counter productive.
”If amnesty was granted the Niger Delta militants in the South South, why not to Boko Haram in the north. The two groups committed same offence of killing and destruction. I think federal government amnesty plan for members of the sect was a right thing.
”The leadership of CAN is in the south and cannot appreciate what we are facing in the north but every Christians here in the north appreciate government gesture because we need peace here and there is no price too much to pay for it,” he stated.
On the withdrawal of Comrade Sani Shehu and Alhaji Ahmed Datti from the committee, Lemu said he was ever ready to serve the country in any capacity that would bring peace, unity and progress to the country. Describing his appointment as a call to service, the former Grand Khadi of Niger State said President Jonathan need not consult with him before appointing him for any national service.
Hear him, ”I cannot reject to serve because President did not consult me before appointing me to serve. President Jonathan is the Allah’s chosen leader for this country now. I know it is Allah that appoints leaders, so I have no cause to reject or refuse to serve when called.” The religious leader who headed a Presidential committee that probe the post-2011 election violence however expressed disappointment that the recommendations of his committee have not being implemented.