The following was originally published in Foreign Policy Journal, penned by former Governor of Abia State Orji Uzor Kalu on the notion of amnesty for Boko Haram:
French poet Victor Hugo once stated that “amnesty is as good for those who give it as for those who receive it. It has the admirable quality of bestowing mercy on both sides”. However, as much as we have witnessed steps taken by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan toward embracing this ideology and attempting to understand our would-be adversaries, Boko Haram, we must truly incentivize and steward talks as best we can—and perhaps on their terms—in order to bring about lasting peace and reconciliation.
Nigerians are facing many challenges, perpetual stumbling blocks hindering a smooth transition to prosperity and geopolitical competition. Yet there is none so blaringly obvious as the complacency our national leadership has emanated while our citizens routinely put their lives in jeopardy simply walking to school, attending church, or going to work. The threat of ‘domestic terrorism’ looms large and weighs heavy on our consciousness; in fact, Nobel-prize winner Wole Soyinka remarked no more than a week ago that Nigeria is on the verge of a ‘potential civil war’.
At present, we have nowhere collectively to hide or turn to but government, looking to accountable leadership to provide a lasting solution. But there are questions lingering in the air, on strategic execution rather than simple theorization.