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Author Topic: Amnesty is a complicated anti-terrorism option, by expert  (Read 1054 times)

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Amnesty is a complicated anti-terrorism option, by expert
« on: May 07, 2013, 02:59:34 PM »
Ositelu opposes pardon for Boko Haram

NOTHING may be wrong in trying amnesty as a counter-terrorism strategy, but Dr. Thomas Brister’s fear is that the process that the option requires may not have been adequately grasped by its handlers in Nigeria.

Meanwhile, the Head of the Church of the Lord, Aladura, World Wide, Most Rev. Rufus Okikiola Ositelu has cautioned the Federal Government against granting amnesty to the Boko Haram sect, insisting that doing so would

not be in the best interest of the country.

But the Primate of the African Church, Most Rev. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, appealed to members of Boko Haram to sheathe the sword and embrace dialogue with the Federal Government.

Udofia, who made the appeal at the 112th General Conference of the church at the African Church Cathedral, Ifako, Lagos State, said statistical update on the insurgent attacks by the group revealed a ‘recurring cancerous ailment’ bent on strangulating the country.

On April 24, the Federal Government inaugurated the Boko Haram Amnesty Committee, tasking members to come up with solutions that will restore peace in the country.

“Amnesty has always been a difficult policy choice,” declared the terrorism expert at the Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, United States of America at the weekend during a chat with The Guardian. Reason: “It seems to reward terrorists for the violence they perpetrated,” explained the senior lecturer at the school’s Department of Political Science and International Studies. “It has been tried in Saudi Arabia for former Al Qaeda militants, and has had a fair degree of success there (though not perfect).”

For amnesty to achieve desired result, he argued, it would depend on the types of fighters in question. “Many who join these groups are actually not particularly ideological and they do it for a variety of reasons. Generally, it is only a small hard core fanatics who are probably incapable of any kind of rehabilitation or reintegration into society.”

In the Nigeria’s case, the scholar thinks that the recent military approaches will be relevant in understanding the difficulties. “This is because military approach and amnesty are two very distinct strategies, almost opposing approaches to counterterrorism,” Brister said, while clarifying that “the problem with militarisation of counterterrorism is that - as we’ve seen recently - it can lead to charges of human rights abuses, the killing of innocent bystanders, among others. This is almost inevitable, unfortunately, we’ve seen it in just about every case where terrorism has escalated to this level.

For example, the Russian campaign against the Chechens over the past decade. Counterterrorism is one of the most difficult of all security operations, and I think that Nigeria is probably just at the beginning of dealing with this growing threat.”

His advice is that Nigeria should take “a look at the experiences of Britain in Northern Ireland, Russia in Chechnya, and Sri Lanka against the LTTE, and the Indian government fighting Sikh separatist terrorists in Punjab in the 1980s which could be useful to see if there are any lessons we have learned from these cases.”

On why the U.S. has hesitated to tag the Boko Haram ‘terrorist organisation’ despite the magnitude of carnage (human and material) the militant group has unleashed on the world, Brister said: “As I understand it, the U.S. Administration is not yet clear whether Boko Haram is really an established, coherent group – or more loosely organised and local. There are also concerns about possible human rights abuses committed by Nigerian security forces.

“There is no doubt that the acts in question are ‘terrorist’. I think that some U.S. officials fear that labeling Boko Haram a FTO (Foreign Terrorist Organisation) might inflate its real power and organisation and bring it into conflict with the United States more directly. One stipulation for getting on the list is that the group must represent a direct threat to the United States. So that probably explains some of the hesitation.

“However, some suspect that the group may have begun collaborating with AQIM and other groups in Mali – if this is the case, then I think that the United States should seriously reconsider the present official status of the group.”

Ositelu, who spoke to newsmen at the Church’s headquarters in Ogere-Remo, Ogun State at the 2013  Provincial Annual General Conference, also urged the government to take urgent steps to address what he described as increasing level of poverty in the country. He challenged religious leaders to find ways of checking the excesses of political leaders through constant rebuke and criticism of government bad policies that affect the people negatively.

Ositelu who spoke through Rev. John Ogunsile said if the church had indeed lived up to its responsibilities, sin and the crime rate would not have been increasing on daily basis because majority of Nigerians would live Godly lives.

Adewale Odubiyi
Owner, Nigeria Oil & Gas Forum

Nigeria Oil & Gas Forum


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