Free prisoners if you can’t prosecute ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members, Arewa youths tell FG

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The Arewa Youths Consultative Forum (AYCF) has advised the federal government to free prisoners nationwide if it cannot prosecute ‘repentant’Boko Haram terrorists.

The National President of the group, Yerima Shettima, gave the advise in an interview with Daily Post while accessing recent development in Afghanistan where the legitimate government was ousted by Taliban forces.

The AYCF honcho, who said such development was possible in the country if Boko Haram terrorists should join forces with another extremist group, cautioned the government to stop pardoning members of the terror group who ought to be prosecuted.

He said if the government is unable to apply the law in dealing with the terrorists, prisoners nationwide should also be released to go home.

He is obviously responding to the remarks of Information Minister Lai Mohammed that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration is not going to prosecute the terrorists “because there are international conventions’’ that must be respected.

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“Things like this should be an experience we should work on ahead of time to avert, and that is why I defer from this ideology of granting amnesty to people who committed so much damage to Nigeria,” Mr Shettima said. “In the case of the Taliban in Afghanistan, you will see that it’s the same thing that replicated itself that we in Nigeria are almost bumping into now.

“Remember that it was the idea of Obama to grant some Taliban leaders amnesty; eventually, they gathered momentum and suddenly ousted a legitimate government because they see themselves as the government already.

“This same experience we are likely to have, but God forbid, we will resist such in Nigeria. Why should somebody who committed the crime of killing people, chasing people out of their homes to IDP camps, killing them still be reintegrated into the society?

“Instead of trying to rehabilitate victims back to their homes, the government is celebrating the same man who artificially created the trouble for them that they are exhausted. They may probably regroup and attack again; we are now busy granting them amnesty; I really don’t understand what Nigerians think at times.

“If you grant them amnesty, do you think the society will allow them to sit around? It’s impossible. Government should be all out to fight them once and for all, prosecute them and make them face the law because that would serve as a deterrent to those who felt cheated would be happy, and the society would also know that you can’t do things wrongly and get away with it. This will even serve as a deterrent to those thinking of committing such crimes.

“Today, we have a problem of terrorism with bandits; if you think you can’t prosecute them but grant them amnesty, then there is no need to keep people in prison; allow everybody to come back home, give amnesty to everybody lets know we are in a society where crime become the order of the day. Automatically we are in the Banana Republic, where there is no law and order, a place where people can do things and get away, so we can fall into a state of anarchy where everybody would defend themselves. We can’t think that way, and that is where I defer from those who believe amnesty is the right thing.

“We are faced with the issue of Boko Haram because we can’t wipe them out, and if another force joins them, there are possibilities of the same happening.

“Meanwhile, some of us find it difficult to agree that the Nigerian government has been overwhelmed, I commend the Nigerian Armed Forces, in recent times, their pattern has changed and they are making some efforts, but we expect more from them. No organisation or individual should be seen to be more powerful than the government,” he added.

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