Two weeks after President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated a committee to work out details of a clemency for members of Boko Haram, the militant Islamist sect, the amnesty body has not been able to make any contact with the sect led by Imam Abubakar Shekau.
Three sources, two of them members of the amnesty committee, the third an associate of Mr. Jonathan, told SaharaReporters that the committee was not close to establishing contact with the leadership of the Islamist group that has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bomb attacks in different parts of northern Nigeria, including Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
One of our sources added that the intensification of violence by the sect has left many members of the committee demoralized. “Some of us knew of the psychological difficulties associated with this assignment, but we were hopeful,” said the source. Speaking in a similar vein, another member told SaharaReporters that, unless Boko Haram decided on its own to call off further terror attacks, “the committee is going to be a failure from the look of things.”
The second source added that several persons had approached individual members of the committee claiming to be able to serve as intermediaries to facilitate negotiations with the leadership of Boko Haram. He said none of the so-called intermediaries had demonstrated any capacity to put the amnesty body in touch with Boko Haram’s top brass.
A source close to the Presidency in Abuja also told SaharaReporters that the chairman of the amnesty committee, Tanimu Kabiru Turaki, has confided that his group had not reached the sect’s leaders. The source added that the committee “is busy looking into past recommendations geared towards solving the Boko Haram problem.”
The source said he was not aware that members of the committee were demoralized. Instead, he praised Mr. Turaki, a lawyer, for continuing to remain positive about achieving results. “Barrister Turaki continues to assure government that his committee will not fail,” he said. “Rather, he and his committee are networking with different stakeholders to achieve a formula towards resolving the challenge of Boko Haram.”