FG in dilemma over Boko Haram amnesty

The Federal Government appears to be in a dilemma over the amnesty programme it plans to put in place for repentant Boko Haram members, sources close to the administration have said.

Insiders in the administration told Sunday Tribune that the appearance in a video by one of the Boko Haram Commanders said to have been swapped for the 82 Dapchi girls less than three days after the release of the girls, in which he threatened the government, is one of the sources of the dilemma.

It was learnt that the claim that the said commander identified Shuaibu Moni, allegedly led the Easter Day attack on some communities in the suburb of Maiduguri, Borno  State, is also adding to the dilemma.

Reports in government circles had indicated that a splinter group of the insurgents led by Moni was apparently responsible for the Easter Day attacks on Bale Kura, Bale Shuwarin, Jamine and Alikaramti communities in Jere Local Government near Maiduguri, in which no fewer than 20 persons were said to have lost their lives and 83 others wounded.

Records available to the administration had indicated that with the Jere attack, the swapped commander appeared to have opened the third splinter group in the Boko Haram system, thus making the amnesty programme a tough task.

It was also gathered that the growing number of wings of the insurgents, leading to what is described as “end-game” activities of kidnapping and suicide bombing against Nigerians might also further endanger the amnesty offer.

While the government was said to have kept its side of the bargain as stated by the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Lawal Daura, that the insurgents’ only condition was a cessation of hostilities and temporary ceasefire, to pave the way for the return of the Dapchi girls, it was learnt that further attacks by the insurgents since then might threaten the amnesty plan.

Following the release of the recently captured Dapchi girls by Boko Haram, President Muhammadu Buhari had announced the intention of his administration to put the issue of insurgency-influenced kidnappings and violence to rest by offering amnesty to repentant Boko Haram members.

Sources, however, said that  the unfolding cracks in the Boko Haram circle and pressure from the Western countries, who detest the alleged payment of ransom for the release of the captives, are combining to give the administration a feet of clay on the amnesty plan.

For instance, a number of newspapers in the Western countries, including the Daily Telegraph of London and a Canada-based online outfit had criticised the alleged payment of ransom for kidnappings in Nigeria.

It was learnt that some diplomats and local advisers might have intimated government of the need for caution in the bid to make concessions to the insurgents.

The  of London had reported recently that behind the scenes, some diplomats and influential advisers “have bitterly opposed the decision to make concessions.”

Some of those knowledgeable about global insurgency were also said to have questioned the role of the Swiss government, which was said to have “influenced Buhari” because they wanted to take glory for the release of the hostages.

The reluctance of the United Kingdom, the united States of America, the European Union and the United Nations, which have offered to help, to back  concessions to the insurgents, might also influence government’s application of amnesty going forward, sources told Sunday Tribune.