Dr. Samuel Chukwuemeka Kanu-Uche, the Prelate Methodist Church of Nigeria, has supported amnesty for Boko Haram militants, robbers, and others as part of efforts to guarantee the country’s stability.
He told journalists in Abuja that peace is not the absence of problems, but an effective method of handling them so that they do not escalate into crises.
He also said that Nigeria made a mistake when people became obsessive about religion, despite the fact that religion is supposed to create, not destroy.
“I am relieved to learn from a Muslim expert that the Qur’an does not include the word ‘kill.’ It is just self-defense; when pushed against a wall, you protect yourself; it is also the same thing (with Christians); we call it the Nehemiah way; when pressed against a wall, you respond rather than taking the law into your own hands and killing innocent people,” Kanu-Uche said.
Speaking on discussion with Boko Haram and bandits, the Methodist leader said that the terrorists have leaders and that rather than criticizing Gumi (Sheik Abubakar Gumi), the government should engage him constructively so he can contribute to the solution.
“You do not reject him by declaring him to be a terrible person. If he (Gumi) walks into the jungle and they have faith in him, the government may engage them in conversation. These youngsters are being used by disaffected politicians; if you employ them and give them N25,000 monthly, they would not kidnap. “All they want is food,” he said.
“I favor amnesty for repentant Boko Haram and bandits,” he added. If you proclaim amnesty, as was done in the Niger Delta area, you would alleviate tensions while ensuring that we get the oil revenue.
“Let the government provide amnesty to Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Adeyemo (alias Sunday Igboho), and others and invite them to discussion. I have offered to engage in conversation with Christians from the south east; they are welcome to do so.
“Let them include individuals like Chief (Emmanuel) Iwuanyanwu, not because we are involved, but because we know how to communicate with our people; let them involve prominent Bishops without labeling them terrorists.” If you label them terrorists, you generate hostility; however, if you refer to them as ‘our children,’ you open the door to conversation, and I can assure you that it will work.”