Nigerians reject amnesty for Boko Haram

Most Nigerians will be happier if members of Boko Haram sect are held accountable for their crimes.

Nigerians have disagreed with the federal government’s pay-for-peace strategy to battle the growing insurgency in northern Nigeria.

The federal Government set up a presidential amnesty committee headed by the Minister of Special Duties, Tanimu Turaki, to consider the possibility and procedure for granting amnesty to the insurgent Boko Haram who have been blamed for the killing of hundreds of people in violence in Northern Nigeria.

The amnesty if granted would be similar to that granted militants in the Niger Delta, which entails monthly payments of salaries to insurgents who agree to lay down their arms. The Niger Delta Amnesty in 2009 led to an increase in Nigeria’s crude oil production to about 2 million barrels per day from the les than one million occasioned by the militants’ activities.

The presidential committee has already commenced its activities and has met with some of the arrested members of the Boko Haram in prison.

Majority of Nigerians have now said they reject the amnesty.

The poll

In an online poll conducted by PREMIUM TIMES over three weeks, majority of the 923 respondents rejected the amnesty.

Seven in ten Nigerians rejected the amnesty for three different reasons.

Four out of the seven (42 per cent of voters) said rather than grant Boko Haram amnesty, members of the sect should be punished for the various crimes they have committed.

Nigeria’s strongest ally, the United States, also expressed demands similar to the voting pattern exhibited in the PREMIUM TIME’s poll.

Last week, the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria released a statement where it demanded for full punishment, according to existing laws.

“Those members of Boko Haram responsible for the violence must be held accountable according to the rule of law,” the U.S demanded.

The Christian Association of Nigeria and other groups have also expressed similar views.

Compensate victims

Two of the seven who rejected the amnesty (17 per cent of voters) said rather than grant the insurgents’ amnesty, the government should spend the money meant for the amnesty to compensate the victims of the sect’s violence and their families.

Since beginning its campaign of terror, the Boko Haram sect has been blamed for deaths of about 3,000 Nigerians. Analysts say activities of the group and government’s serial mistakes in handling the security threat presented by the group has led to the proliferation of anarchic groups in northern Nigeria.

Since offering the amnesty in its carrot and stick measure to curb the growing violence the group’s activity poses to Nigeria, the Boko Haram hierarchy has repeatedly turned down the offer, preferring the Islamisation of Nigeria instead.

One out of the seven “No to amnesty” respondents ( 12 per cent of the total respondents) based their rejection on the sect’s stance. They said there is no basis for granting members of the sect amnesty as the group already rejected it.

Yes to amnesty

On the wall are 15 per cent of the respondents. They care less about what the government does. They just want the federal government to provide security for Nigerians irrespective of how it goes about it.

Another 15 per cent of respondents supported the planned amnesty for the sect, saying it would bring the desired peace.

The view of the voters who declared support for the amnesty is similar to that of several Northern Elders and the Nigerian Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs headed by the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar.

The pressure from the Northern elders is believed to have influenced the government into considering the amnesty.

Government changes tactics

Less than a month after inaugurating the Boko Haram committee, and following the continuous killings of security operatives in affected states, the Federal Government has also amended its tactics of resolving the insurgency.

President Goodluck Jonathan in a broadcast on Tuesday declared the use of full military force to quash the sect and other insurgents in the troubled states. The president therefore declared a State of Emergency in the most troubled States of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

Some Nigerians, including the Christian Association of Nigeria, have therefore asked the president to dissolve the amnesty committee saying it’s proposed task is no longer necessary.



JD:Its quite difficult to know whether Nigerians care about amnesty for Boko Haram or not.Only a real scientifically nationwide poll will determine that.What i am sure Nigerians want is a peaceful country to live in.completely battered by its ruling class,especially with the attendant corrupt practices that has led to massive decimation of living standards,what we want most is good governance,corruption free environment to live in and a considerate and compassionate purposeful ruling class.Besides the boko haram and all such challenges have been so politicized that the average Nigerian isn,t even too sure who to queue behind


  1. Hi Uncle Jimi, On the contrary, Nigerians in the north care if an amnesty if given. I was in there till I was 21, and it is rather disturbing that in all of the religious/tribal/political riots, not a single person has been convicted. We knew people who had families that were almost wiped out, some were missing and never returned, some lost their businesses and homes. After the dust settles, the perpetrators continue their lives as usual, the victims always have an idea of the perpetrators, but no one gets arrested or persecuted then we have the reprisal attacks and it continues in that viscous circle.

    I just wonder how Nigeria can explain amnesty to a woman whose children are either dead and others maimed in a church bomb blast because the bomb hit the children’s section, and many other cases, Amnesty for BH for me feels like justifying the presidential pardon granted to Alams or the Pensions thief.

    I see the emergency rule as as effective SHORT Term measure to deal with the issue. Compulsory education for all ages, skills acquisition and creation of jobs is to be long term solution.
    I see BH as an ideology that thrives in Poverty and joblessness but any clergy that misleads their congregation should be exposed and punished severely.
    I fear for the upcoming generations in the north as they are now made conscious of the religious/tribal differences of their peers and this is what we have to prevent.

    God help us,

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