Nigerian Cardinal backs Boko Haram amnesty

Cardinal John Onaiyekan

Nigerian Cardinal John Olorunfemi Onaiyekan has backed a proposal to offer amnesty for any Boko Haram militants who embrace peace, the Catholic News Service reports.

The proposal was made by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.

In a recent letter, Cardinal Onaiyekan said any amnesty arrangement must be undertaken with the goal of reconciliation among the government, militants and victims of violence.

The letter was the fifth the Cardinal sent from Rome to Nigeria to address violence in his country. The Cardinal said he is in Rome tending to Church-related business.

A day later, the Administrative Board of the Nigerian bishops' conference called for six months of prayer for peace in response to the violence that has rocked much of Africa's most-populous nation. The bishops outlined a series of prayerful actions that individuals, clergy, religious and parishes can take from July through December.

Cardinal Onaiyekan wrote that offering amnesty 'is a great challenge, which calls for a lot of commitment, sincerity and consistency on the part of government and its agents.'

He also said amnesty should not be a 'case of enthroning impunity,' which encourages the militants to 'blackmail government in the future through violence.'


Nigerian cardinal supports offer of amnesty to Boko Haram insurgents (Catholic News Service)