'DIALOGUE WITH BOKO HARAM LEADERS, UNREASONABLE'

By NBF News
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The Vice-President of a socio-political organization, Democratic Alliance for Youths, (DAY) and National President of the Igbo Peoples' Congress (IPC), Anaere Ugochukwu has said that the Islamic sect, Boko Haram, deserves no amnesty. Both men urged the Federal Government to discountenance calls for dialogue with the group. WOLE BALOGUN brings the excerpts

Boko Haram:Terrorism or religion
The activities of Boko Haram in the past few years have become one of the great challenges to the Nigerian people and the world generally because is not just a religious attack. Given the alarming rate of its attacks on the people and the government of this country lately, it is becoming worrisome.

There is a need for the government to carefully find out and analyse what their motives and goals are.

By the time we have answers to these questions, we will then be able to differentiate between what is religious and political. In my view, religion of any kind does not give free will or guarantee the gruesome destruction or murder of innocent citizens or wanton destruction of government properties. No religion preaches violence as its cardinal objective. What we have witnessed in the past few years from the so- called Boko Haram is nothing but an act of 'terrorism'. If we have to control the activities of this group of violent terrorists, we have to call them by their name. They are terrorists and they have a mission and it is to cause confusion and ensure that the present administration does not have an enabling environment to perform and deliver the dividend of democracy to the Nigeria people.

No individual or group of persons is above the law and I believe in the strength and effectiveness of our security operatives. I believe that with the co-operation of the Nigeria Army they will be able to bring the situation under control. And I want to use this medium to advise the president, Goodluck Jonathan, not to contemplate granting amnesty to the so- called Boko Haram.

If Amnesty is granted to these faceless terrorists, it then means that tomorrow, some groups of people can also toe their line in order to be given amnesty. Is that what amnesty is all about? The judiciary is open to every citizen of this country to seek redress of any kind and not to carry bombs and cutlasses and create confusion in the county. All I am asking the Police and other Security organs in the country including the Army to do is to ensure that the perpetrators of this act of terrorism are brought to justice including those who sponsor and finance them. No matter how highly placed they might be.

Ministers and presidential aides
The President and Commander- in- Chief of the Armed forces, Dr. Ebele Goodluck Jonathan has always presented himself as a man of his words and I don't have any doubt in my mind that so far, the men and women he chose to work with are people of proven integrity. They will strive to work according to the promise to deliver good governance to the Nigerian people. We are all expecting high returns from all the ministers because we all contributed one way or the other to the success of 2011 elections. The success of the present administration under President Jonathan lies in the ability of the appointed ministers to perform. They do not need to sit at the comfort of their offices and give orders that may not be obeyed. I have always advocated for ensuring that square pegs are put in square holes.

Performance of the South-East governors
The present governor of Anambra State took over effectively the running of Anambra State that is made up of 21 Local Government Areas and 322 wards in 2007.I granted an interview and called on the governor to conduct elections into the various councils. He promised to conduct elections before the 2010 governorship elections, but he did not conduct that election. Instead, he used the election into the various councils as a campaign manifesto and promised that if he was elected, he would conduct the elections.

He won, and up till today, he has not conducted elections into the various councils. This is undemocratic. It does not allow for proper fiscal accounting of the state funds. It does not allow even development across the urban and rural areas. It brings about the citation of unpopular projects and cuts short the yearnings and the aspirations of the rural communities.

It even marginalizes the rural community from the dividends of good governance and it denies the young politicians access to political involvement.

We all know that democracy thrives on a tripod: the federal, state and the local governments. That is the only way to bring democracy to the grassroots. Therefore, any state where local government areas are functioning without formal elections constitutionally conducted into such offices as guaranteed by the law of the land does not exist and can not be said to be working.

I cannot say that the governor of Anambra state is working for the past six years now. As an activist and leader, my opinion represents the opinion of every well-meaning youth.

I am particular about Anambra because it is my state. The Anambra State judiciary has been on strike for the past five or six months. I mean the same judiciary that fought for the governor to come on board. The judicial staff has been on strike with its attendant Moral/Social consequences. Just imagine yourself to be in the same shoes with someone who is in awaiting trial for an offence he is not convicted of. Such suspects have already served six months imprisonment even without trial or conviction. Without working and getting their salaries, how would they cater for their families?

These are very fundamental social burdens we must try to avoid. You cannot sit in the comfort of your office and ignore the cries of the people that you govern and at the end of the day you won't be able to manage the social implication of what your official arrogance has caused the society.