Boko Haram victims seek compensation
Christians in the North have set a precondition for amnesty for Boko Haram members. Victims of the sect’s violence must be compensated, the Northern Christians Forum (NCF) said yesterday.
Also demanding compensation is the pan-Igbo socio-political organisation, Ohaneze Ndigbo, which lost many of its members.
According to the NCF, Christians became targets of the sect’s mayhem for supporting the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.
The NCF described the amnesty offer as “wickedness”, if “nobody is talking about compensation for the innocent people who have been affected”.
It said: “The Northern Christians Forum has been marginalised; deliberately underdeveloped; treated like vassals; seriously brutalised; and slaughtered under the watchful eyes of this regime more than in any other regime before.”
A statement issued in Abuja by the NCF Chairman, Evangelist Matthew Owojaiye, said: “Government spent billions of naira on nomadic education, N5 billion on almajiri schools, which is specifically for Muslims, while Christian schools and hospitals taken over by the government without compensation are still being held tight by the government.
“Boko Haram has tried to annihilate us and our Igbo Christian brothers and now the government is talking about granting the sect amnesty without saying a word about the people they bombed, slaughtered and traumatised.
“Who underdeveloped the Muslim North? It is definitely not the Jonathan government. Neither the Christians in the North! It is the Northern Muslim elite that impoverished the Northern Muslim youth.
“The Northern Muslim elite pocketed the largesse that came to the North. Only they and their families benefited. They turned the attention of Boko Haram to the innocent Christians in the North.
“It is even more annoying that instead of the Northern Muslim elite releasing 50 per cent of their wealth to solve the poverty problem of the Muslims in the North, they are crying and putting pressure and intimidating the Federal Government to set up a Boko Haram commission.
“It is wickedness! Since the post-election violence, thousands of Christians have been killed or maimed; thousands of Christian businesses have been ruined; and hundreds of Churches destroyed or closed down for supporting the Jonathan administration.
“Contemplating granting amnesty to the people who have wrought wanton destruction of lives and properties in this nation is a call to other interest groups to rise up in arms against their fatherland, in order to be blessed when such an action should be treated as treason! Till date the killing continues!
Intimidating the Federal Government to grant amnesty is the highest display of hypocrisy and lack of patriotism. Are such people not indirectly admitting that they are the shadows or ghosts behind the Boko Haram?
“We totally object to even discussing amnesty when nothing has been done for the victims of the Boko Haram.
“Let all who collude or sponsor Boko Haram or refuse to come to the help of Christians for political or economical reasons know that heaven is watching and nobody will go free! The blood of the Christian martyrs is crying to haven for justice.
“Rev. 6:9-10 says that ‘When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.
‘And they cried with a loud voice, saying, how long, o Lord, Holy and true, until you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’
“We totally object to Paul Unongo and his friends speaking on behalf of the Christians, challenging the authority of the Christian Association (CAN) President. The Christians in Nigeria know their leaders. Definitely their teams are not among our leaders.
“Northern Minority Commission is overdue. Do we need to take up arms before our plight comes before government?
“The return of all schools and hospitals taken from the Christians and compensation paid for ruining them; release of N5 billion for Christian schools as done to muslims; henceforth, equal amount must be allocated to us as given to them yearly; and the setting up of Northern minority commission and a minister to be in charge.”
Ohaneze Ndigbo supported yesterday Federal Government’s decision to consider amnesty for Boko Haram (Western education is a sin).
The leadership of the group, which dropped the hint in Kano, said amnesty should be granted to the sect if the action would address the insurgency ravaging the North.
But it demanded compensation for victims of the Kano New Road Motor Park bomb attack on Lagos-bound luxury buses.
Led by its President, Chief Carry Nnachi, the group was on a condolence visit to Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwanso over the March 18 attack .
But their host said the Kano Motor Park bombing that claimed more than 30 lives was not targeted at any ethnic group.
The governor described the tragic incident as simply terror, which has no borders.
The Ohaneze team also commiserated with the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero and the Igbo community in Kano.
Nnachi described the attack as “vicious, unfortunate and irresponsible”, which must be condemned by all peace-loving Nigerians.
He said: “The Ohanaeze Ndigbo supports all that can bring peace to the country. We support whatever efforts put together to restore peace and unity in the country.
“We want Kano to continue to be in peace. Therefore, we must avoid tendencies that are inimical to this project by weighing our actions so that we can sustain our corporate existence as a people.
“What has happened has happened. Therefore, we should all put it behind us and move forward.”
The Ohaneze president stressed the need for the victims to be compensated.
Speaking through his Commissioner for State Affairs, Abdulsalam Aminu Gwarzo, Kwankwaso noted that the nation has been passing through a trying period.
He urged people to be cautious of their utterances, pointing out that the victims of the New Road Motor Park attack cut across all the ethnic and religious divides. The government has been doing everything within its power to tackle the security challenges.