To end insurgency in the country, the Federal Government has indicated its willingness to grant amnesty for members of the violent Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Youth Development, Mr. Boni Haruna while speaking on youth’s position in the present administration’s transformation agenda during a programme to mark the nation’s Democracy Day titled ‘A day with young leaders of Nigeria.’
According to him, President Goodluck Jonathan has given approval for the amnesty to be given as soon as the sect lay down their arms.
Stressing that series of programmes are in the pipeline for members of the sect, he called on them to embrace government’s gesture.
He said: “President Goodluck Jonathan has also declared amnesty for members of the Boko Haram sect. Series of integration programmes have been lined up for the members of the sect who would surrender their arms and embrace peace.”
“Let me use this opportunity on behalf of the Federal Government, to call on the members of the Boko Haram sect to embrace the government’s gesture and key into the amnesty programme.” He added
On the youth restiveness in the Niger Delta, the Minister said that the government introduced a development programme which gave the youth an opportunity to have a meaningful life.
According to him, over 30,000 youths have benefited from the amnesty programme which he recalled was a result of a bitter national security experience.
Noting that the effect of the amnesty has been great, he said that beneficiaries have transformed from militants to wealth creators, employers of labour and skilled citizens.
During interactive session with the youths on Thursday, President Jonathan said that terrorism cannot succeed in any community without support from the local people.
Calling on those who are respected by the insurgents to join hands with the government in order to encourage them to lay down their arms, the President said that military alone cannot stop terrorism.
He said: “Terror succeeds with local support. It will be difficult for terror to thrive where people reject it. It is a major challenge to all of us.”
“Military alone cannot stop terror or any radicalism. Terrorists have people they respect, they have community, traditional and opinion leaders they respect. All of us can deradicalise them.
“We will through persuasive activities encourage people to shun violence,” he added
As part of efforts to ensure youths are reorientated and not misled, he said that his government is already working out modalities to reintroducing moral education in schools.