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Why amnesty for Boko Haram fighters is bad call – SERAP

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A Nigerian civil society group Sunday said the move by the Nigerian government to forgive ‘repentant’ Boko Haram fighters will “undermine peace and stability in the country.”

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) said in an open letter sent to President Muhammadu Buhari that there was a need to prioritise “justice for the victims” of the insurgency which has left some parts of northeast Nigeria in the throes of humanitarian crises.

“Any amnesty for Boko Haram involved in serious human rights violations would be contrary to Nigeria’s international obligations and commitments, including under the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and People’ Rights,” SERAP said.

While receiving the Dapchi schoolgirls freed by their Boko Haram on Friday, Buhari said his government was ready to “rehabilitate and integrate” into the society repentant insurgents as a shortcut to achieving lasting peace in the country.

“This country has suffered enough of hostility,” he said.

“Government is, therefore, appealing to all to embrace peace for the overall development of our people and the country.

But SERAP said the government should not sweep away the “mass atrocities committed against millions of Nigerian women, men, children and the elderly, and allowing those responsible to escape justice.”

Boko Haram fighters, according to an AFP estimate, have killed at least 20, 000 people and displaced more than 2.6 million since 2009.

The insurgency has also caused chronic food shortage in some parts of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states, with about $1.5 billion needed by the United Nations to feed 6.1 million people in those places.


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