President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday held a closed-door meeting with his service chiefs to discuss how the federal government would respond to the purported rejection of its proposed amnesty for the Boko Haram by the sect’s leadership.
On Thursday, the sect’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, was reported to have rejected the amnesty scheme and declared that it was the federal government that needed the gesture. The group’s position is said to be a cause for concern to the presidency.
In a 30-minute audio recording in Hausa, Arabic and English, Shekau said that his group had “not committed any wrong to deserve amnesty”, adding that it was the government that should be seeking amnesty from his group and not the other way round. He further said that even though the sect was the one wronged and the one that should be asked for amnesty, it was not ready to grant any pardon to the government.
He said: “We are the one to grant them pardon. Have you forgotten their atrocities against us? We are surprised that today it is the federal government saying it will grant us amnesty. Oh God, is it we who will grant you amnesty or you are the one to grant us amnesty?
“What have we done? If there is room for forgiveness, we are not going to do it until God gives us permission to do it. Have you forgotten your sin, have you forgotten what you have done to us in Plateau, the state you called Jos? We emerged to avenge killings of our Muslim brothers and the destruction of our religion. Was it not in Plateau that we saw people cannibalizing our brothers?”
It was learnt that as soon as President Jonathan resumed work in his office he sent signals to the chief of defence staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim, asking him to report in the Aso Rock with his team immediately for an important meeting.
When the service chiefs resumed work yesterday, none of them had any inkling of having any meeting with the commander-in-chief of the armed forces but, about 10am, Admiral Ibrahim asked them to get ready for a meeting with the president and “like a bolt from the blue, the chief of army staff (Lt-Gen. Azubike Ihejirika), the chief of air force (Air Marshal Alex Badeh) and the chief of navy, (Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba) had lined up their cars waiting for the CDS to lead them to the Aso Rock Villa,” a source said.
Although the details of the meeting were sketchy at press time, a military source disclosed that the meeting discussed the rejection of the proposed amnesty by Shekau and his faction of the sect and the next line of action to take.
JD:It is my view that it appears the present government might lack both the intellectual strategic and physical capacity to contain this crisis.The flip flopping and shifting of goalposts as the crisis deepens lends credence to that.Right from the moment the President admitted publicly that boko haram could even be in his government one had had fears that the crisis might not be contained.So what could be the way forward?Less talk and more action and most importantly like all things in life,if you cant get it right either seek help elsewhere or vacate the seat for those who can.For gods sake there are 165 million lives at stake here!