Foundation for Peace and Non-Violence in Nigeria, an NGO, on Tuesday advised the Federal Government to adopt “acceptance” strategy in place of its amnesty programme to curb security challenges threatening the country.
The President of the Foundation, Mr Onengiya Erekosima, who gave the advice at a news conference in Abuja, said that the new strategy would encourage anyone engaged in arms violence to surrender his arms voluntarily and without any social stigma.
He said that changing the word `amnesty’ to `acceptance’ entailed a new rule for engagement, would discourage stigmatisation and encourage militants across the country to lay down their weapons.
“Our suggestion is that government should grant an `acceptance’ not amnesty to anyone that only wants to repent and surrender his arms to the state.
“In doing so, amnesty will not be partisan,’’ the president said.
He condemned the killings of innocent civilians and burning of houses at Baga in Borno and other parts of the country.
Erekosima said that the state of emergency proclaimed by President Goodluck Jonathan on Borno, Yobe and Adamawa was constitutional, but would not solve the problem.
“Foundation for Peace and Non-Violence condemns the loss of lives of innocent citizens and rendering homeless of our fellow country men and women in the affected towns.
“The incident is a pointer to the fact that the deployment of security operatives is not an effective and enduring antidote to violent crisis rather their deployment in many instances could escalate the situation,’’ he said.
Erekosima said that the foundation viewed the state of emergency declared by President Goodluck Jonathan in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa with mixed feelings.
He urged the Federal Government to be more proactive by examining the foundation’s proposal, which centred on enlightening aggrieved groups and individuals to accept peace and non-violence in righting the wrongs.
“This is followed with repentance, acceptance offered by the government and rehabilitation of anyone among them who will accept the conditions.
“We have no doubt that this will bring peace and non violence in resolving conflicts in the country,’’ Erekosima said.
He appealed to the government to see reason in engaging peaceful dialogue and other civil measures to resolving conflicts and take effective steps toward mopping up arms in the country.