Lagos - Two human rights activists on Sunday gave conditions for granting of amnesty to members of the Boko Haram sect while two political groups advised against granting amnesty to the terrorist group.
The lawyers, Mr Festus Keyamo and Mr Mohammed Fawehinmi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that some conditions must be met before amnesty would be granted to the Boko Haram members.
The duo said that amnesty could only be granted, if the sect members could unveil their identities and come forward for negotiation with the Federal Government.
But the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) and the Coalition of Oodua Self Determination Groups told NAN that Boko Haram members did not deserve amnesty.
NAN reports that President Goodluck Jonathan had on March 7 in Yobe, declared that there would be no amnesty for members of the sect, unless they showed up physically for negotiation.
Jonathan made the declaration while responding to calls made by some professionals and stakeholders in Yobe, led by a former Minister of Finance, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma, for amnesty to be granted to the Boko Haram group.
NAN recalls that the Sultan of Sokoto, Dr Sa’ad Abubakar II and the President General of the umbrella body for Northern Muslims, the Jama'tu Nasril Islam had also on March 5, urged Jonathan to grant amnesty to the Boko Haram members.
Fawehinmi argued that if members of the sect were given amnesty, it would amount to insult upon injury to those who lost their loved ones.
"I am surprised that the Sultan could recommend amnesty. What compensation will he recommend for the families of those they killed."
Fawehinmi said that Jonathan was right by declaring that there would be no amnesty for ghosts.
"Faceless or not, terrorism should not be tolerated," he said.
On his part, Keyamo said: "I support amnesty for members of Boko Haram because what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander.
"I support the president that we must know who is behind it before amnesty is granted.
Keyamo argued that since the sect might not be crushed, it was wise to negotiate with them.
The AYCF President, Alhaji Yerima Shettima, argued that granting amnesty at any time to the sect would mean that Nigeria should forget about a law against terrorism.
"Let the truth be spoken without sentiments. If Nigeria grants amnesty to the sect, the nation will have more serious problems at the end.
"History will not forgive us. We are talking about an entire country held to ransom by a few individuals.
"Giving amnesty to these individuals means forgiving them. We must learn to support the laws we make and seek to make.
"I am not from the Niger Delta and I state here that the insurgency in the Niger Delta is not the same with the Boko Haram terrorism.
"If they are granted amnesty, what happens to those who lost their loved ones to them," Yerima asked.
Also, the Director of Strategy of the Oodua group, Mr Rasaq Oladosu, queried the context by which the sect should be given amnesty.
"We do not support amnesty for them. Amnesty in the name of rehabilitation and money for those who have killed so many innocent people is unfathomable.
"What happens to the souls they had taken? Oladosu asked.
He said that the government should instead, create a meeting point for all the ethnic nationalities in Nigeria to sit down and discuss.
Similarly, Mr Austin Nnorom , the South-West Secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties said, "the Sultan's position means he is abreast of information that others may not be privy to.
"If amnesty is what it takes to stop the killings, then, so be it," Nnorom said.
He, however, urged the Federal Government to call for dialogue with the group, which he said, would culminate in the granting of amnesty to the terrorist sect.