Drop This Idea Of Amnesty For Boko Haram, Group Tells Buhari
President Buhari has been asked to drop the idea of amnesty for members of Boko Haram.
Few days to the period of Easter which talks about forgiveness, the President had extended a hand of amnesty to repentant member of the sect.
But there are concerns coming from rights groups. They are wondering how to ensure the repentant members of Boko Haram remain repentant.
One of those groups is the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and the group asked President Buhari to drop the idea on Thursday in an open letter.
The group said it made the demand in the interest of justice.
SERAP believes that "any amnesty programme for the group would be counter-productive, and constitute impunity for their members, which can only continue to undermine peace and stability in the country".
The organisation said the government should instead "prioritise justice for the victims of Boko Haram and help them to rebuild and get on with their lives rather than pushing to remove accountability for the mass atrocities committed against millions of Nigerian women, men, children and the elderly, and allowing those responsible to escape justice".
In the letter signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale the organisation said: “Boko Haram should not be allowed to escape the consequences of their crimes if the authorities are to prevent a cycle of revenge leading to further violence and conflict.
“We believe that granting amnesty to Boko Haram would be an open violation of the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 (as amended) and international law and would entail a virtual denial of justice for victims”.
According to the organisation, “the international community is pushing for accountability for those who commit the worst of human crimes, and longer tolerating amnesty for war crimes, crimes against humanity or other gross violations of human rights”.
The letter a read: “Any amnesty for Boko Haram would take away the rights of the victims to justice, ignore the needs of the internally displaced persons, and never bring ‘closure’ to the mass atrocities committed by the group against Nigerians.
“The victims need to know the truth about what happened, and the alleged complicity of our armed forces and security services in the atrocities committed by the group.
“The offer of amnesty would prevent the government from addressing these fundamental issues".