The Federal Government on Thursday set up a special committee within the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to look at the possibility of granting amnesty to members of the Boko Haram militants.
Presidency sources at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said this is in line with President Goodluck Jonathan’s promise Wednesday night to ensure wide consultations on the planned amnesty for the Boko Haram Islamic militants.
Jonathan on Thursday met for several hours with security chiefs at the Presidential Villa, after which the committee whose membership were not immediately disclosed, was set up and given two weeks within which to come up with its recommendations.
The committee, according to the presidency source, will also consider other options on how best to tackle the security challenges which has brought the economy of the North to its knees.
The meeting had ended without any formal briefing from any of the service chiefs as each refused to comment on the outcome.
But a source, who spoke on the outcome, revealed to State House correspondents on the condition of anonymity that they actually discussed the amnesty issue, adding that it is the way to ensure that the problem of insecurity in Nigeria is ameliorated.
“This is just a way of solving the insecurity issue to ensure that it is reduced to the barest minimum. Some other issues to ameliorate the situation were discussed”.
“The committee has two weeks within which to submit its report and will operate from the Office of the National Security Adviser (NSA)”.
The president had during his meeting with the Northern Elders Forum (NEF), Wednesday night, said he will convene the crucial security meeting as part of the consultations ahead of plans to kick-start the process of amnesty.
The president met with all the service chiefs including the National Security Council (NSC) to discuss what has degenerated into proliferation of the terrorist organisations in the country, arising from the activities of the dreaded Islamic sect, Jama’atul Ahlus Sunnah Lidda’awati wal Jihad, otherwise known as Boko Haram.
The Northern elders are hinging their request on amnesty for Boko Haram on the contention that the country, especially the northern part, is facing serious security and economic challenges as a result of the hard-line postures adopted by the Boko Haram Islamic sect.
This much was alluded to by Ango Abdullahi, former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, who also served as special adviser on food security to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, when he briefed State House correspondents after the meeting with President Jonathan at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday night.
TONY AILEMEN, Abuja