We’ll Punish Those Behind Borno Massacre – Jonathan - Gragrah News!
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We’ll Punish Those Behind Borno Massacre – Jonathan

Written By Joseph Y. Musa on Thursday, April 25, 2013 | 4/25/2013 07:48:00 am


An obviously disturbed President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday vowed to ensure that those found culpable in the massacre of no fewer than 185 people during a clash between the militant
Islamic sect, Boko Haram, and the Multinational Joint Task Force in Baga, Borno State, would be dealt with.
Jonathan made the promise while inaugurating the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North and the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The President warned security operatives against bringing large scale destruction to communities in the name of peacekeeping.
He said, “Let me use this opportunity to charge the security agencies that while doing their work, they must be mindful of innocent citizens of this country. In attempting to bring peace to any part of the country, they should do so in a manner that will not bring destruction to the third party.
“The issues in some parts of Borno State that are in the media today are being investigated. I will tell Nigerians and indeed members of the international community that government will take steps to make sure that if errors were made, people behind them are cautioned and treated in line with our laws and regulations.”
The President called on the amnesty committee members to swing into action immediately because Nigerians expected them to perform magic in their bid to restore peace to the country.
“All Nigerians are expecting this committee to perform magic and we pray that Allah should give you the wisdom to do so. We all know that without peace, we can’t develop no matter how committed we are. Without peace we cannot progress as a nation,” he added.
Jonathan promised to support the panel and other organisations to put an end to the violence being orchestrated by Boko Haram.
The committee chaired by the Minister of Special Duties, Taminu Turaki, has three months to carry out its assignment. The terms of reference are developing a framework for the granting of amnesty; setting up of a framework through which disarmament could take place within a 60-day time frame; development of a comprehensive victims’ support programme, and development of mechanisms to address the underlying causes of insurgencies.
Of the 26 Nigerians named as members of the committee, four were absent at the inauguration. The absentees were rights activist, Shehu Sani and Alhaji Datti Ahmed, who had earlier rejected their nominations as well as Mr. Ibrahim Tahir and the representative of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
Jonathan commended members of the committee who offered themselves for the task of salvaging the country despite not being consulted before their names were made public.
He said they should be lauded for taking up the challenge because those who declined their nominations did so based on the same reason that they were not consulted.
The President said, “As a nation and as a government, we will work towards ensuring the security of this country. We will continue to do our best; we will continue to do things that will bring development to the nation; but we cannot succeed without the support of all our citizens.
“We therefore urge you to be patriotic to this country. All Nigerians should also show patriotism to the nation by supporting the government and the two committees to succeed.”
The President observed that although Nigeria had passed through thick and thin in its 53 years of nationhood, the current security challenge was particularly unique .
“As a nation, we have passed through thick and thin but we all agree that the situation Nigeria is facing today is quite different from other challenging periods we have passed through. Really, it needs dedicated and committed minds to resolve it,” he said.
While also inaugurating the Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons that has Ambassador Emmanuel Imohe as its chairman, Jonathan noted that effects of small arms and light weapons in Africa are worse than those of nuclear weapon.
Noting that the manufacturers of the weapons who push them to Africa were not doing the world any good,the President urged the United Nations to come up with a comprehensive approach to the control of such weapons.”
Shortly after the President inaugurated them, the two chairmen took turns to assure him and the country of their readiness to bring their experiences to bear on the tasks set before them.
Turaki said in view of what Jonathan called the gigantic responsibility assigned to his panel, members were seeking prayers from Nigerians for them to succeed.
The minister also called for useful information from members of the public for them to carry out the task effectively.
He said, “Members of this committee are prepared to bring our diverse experiences, our education, professionalism, tactics, skills and above all, our integrity to bear on the task given to us. We are not under any illusion that this will be an easy task, but we are resolute; we feel challenged by this enormous responsibility that has been given to us.”
“We appeal to Nigerians to show a lot of understanding and patience and to pray so that we will succeed in carrying out this gigantic assignment.”
Imohe, on his part, said there was an established connection between easy access to weapons and the problems of insecurity in Africa .
He observed that the deployment of these weapons was threatening non-state actors and also reinforcing criminal networks.
As a result, he argued that small arms and light weapons now constituted the biggest threat to peace and security and by extension to development in many countries in Africa.
He said, “It is axiomatic to say that development can take place in an environment that is characterised by lack of security. Easy access to small arms and light weapons creates insecurity which in turn impedes growth and development in several countries within our neigbourhood.
“It follows therefore that if we seek to tackle the problem of insecurity, we must first seek to deal with the issue of easy access to small arms and light weapons.“I wish to emphasise that the committee shares the President’s vision regarding internal peace and security that will allow the transformation agenda of this administration to flourish.”
In an interview after the inauguration, a female member of the amnesty committee who was named on Tuesday, Hajia Aisha Wakil, expressed the conviction that with the setting up of the committee, the violence in the North had ended.
Wakil who was limping and was supported to the venue by her daughter and a young man said there was nothing impossible for God to do.
Another female member, Hajia Bilikisu Yusuf, was approved to join the amnesty committee on Wednesday, thus bringing the number to the original 26.
Meanwhile, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has called on Jonathan to apply caution in granting amnesty to Boko Haram members.
Its National President, Dr Felix Omobude, said in a statement on Wednesday, that the Federal Government must avoid giving the impression that it was honouring criminals.
He said government, instead of placing premium on amnesty for Boko Haram members, should be more concerned with ways of compensating victims of their attacks.
“The victims and their families deserve adequate compensation to mitigate their grief and to demonstrate that the government also cares about them,”the cleric said.
The PFN leader also appealed to members of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, to stop further hostilities in the Niger Delta and give peace a chance.
He also called on MEND to engage the Federal Government in constructive dialogue to straighten out “contentious issues.”
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