Northern Governors fear Baga massacre will Jeopadise Amnesty Comittee progress
AREWA Consultative Forum (ACF) has expressed shock over the violence between the Joint Task Force (JTF) and the Boko Haram Islamic sect, which led to the loss of many lives and destruction of properties in Baga village, Borno State, saying it came at the wrong time when both sides were working towards peaceful resolution.
The group said in a communiqué signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Anthony Sani, that it came as a shock in that apart from the monumental losses, the violence came at a time when talks of amnesty were expected to lead to cessation of hostilities and an end to the crisis.
It said that given the different accounts of the destruction in Baga, there should be thorough investigations into what happened with a view to punishing offenders to serve as a deterrent against future occurrence.
“To that end, both the government and the governed must avoid generalisations that are not well informed by hard facts. Nigerians and the media must be wary of half-truths, lest they worsen the already dire and complex situation in demand of highest level of imagination, commitment and determination that often come with patriotic courage and political will,” it stated.
The communiqué states further: “The meetings also considered the circumstances of withdrawals from the Amnesty Committee by some members, and resolved that though consultations ought to precede announcements of names of members in view of the dire nature of the assignment, that should not make some members reject their membership of the Amnesty Committee.”
ACF, therefore, called on such members to reconsider their decisions in the overriding interest of the North, the nation and for humanity.
“This is because no sacrifice is too much to bring about peace across the nation. It is no time for blame game but for consciously collective efforts needed to make insecurity history,” the group said.
According to the communiqué, the resolutions were outcomes of meetings of ACF’s organs, namely, the National Working Committee (NWC) on April 23, 2013; the National Executive Council (NEC) on April 24, 2013 and the Board of Trustees (BOT) on April 25, 2013, held at its Conference Hall, along Sokoto Road, Kaduna.
Meanwhile, following Thursday’s attacks in Borno and Yobe states by people suspected to be Boko Haram insurgents, which claimed the lives of nine policemen, the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) has warned the radical sect that further attacks could jeopardise the Federal Government’s plan to declare amnesty for members of the group.
The forum stressed in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday that the sect needed to give peace a chance as attacks and other acts of violence after the offer of amnesty could not advance the course of peace.
According to the statement, which was signed by Danladi Ndayebo, the Chief Press Secretary to the governor of Niger State and Chairman of the Forum, Dr Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, the renewed violence that hit parts of Borno and Yobe states on Thursday negated all efforts to restore peace to the region.
The forum expressed serious concern at the fresh wave of attacks, which also left many buildings destroyed in Bama in Borno State and Gashua in Yobe State, describing the death of the policemen as a great national loss.
It hailed the deceased as heroes who died in the course of service to their fatherland and prayed that God would grant repose to their souls, and their families and friends the fortitude to bear the loss.
The forum also urged the military, the police and other security agencies not to be discouraged by the dastardly act, emphasising that the nation would forever remain grateful to security agencies for the successes recorded so far in the war against terror.