Wednesday, November 6, 2013

President Jonathan rejects compensation for Boko Haram victims

President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday admitted that despite the efforts of the nation's security agencies targeted at curtailing the activities of members of the fundamentalist Islamic sect, Boko Haram, his administration could not be said to have won the war against terror.

But he ruled out compensation for victims of the violence orchestrated by the sect. The President however said his government was favourably disposed to the suggestion by the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenge in the North to assist victims to get back on track.

Jonathan spoke shortly after receiving the report of the committee chaired by the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Taminu Turaki, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He however expressed the belief that with the recommendations contained in the committee's report, his administration would bring the excesses of the sect's members to an end.

He also expressed his administration's readiness to consider the committee's call for the establishment of an advisory committee on continuous dialogue with members of the sect.

"We also noted the suggestion about the victims' support because that is one of the terms of reference; how will government help to see that we can assist? Government is not going to compensate. It is not an issue of compensation but how do we assist people who have suffered to get back to business one way or the other?

"Government will look into this and other recommendations in your report and see that the right decisions are taken."

He promised to set up a team from the council that would look at the report and work out a programme for the implementation of the recommendations.

Turaki, in giving an insight into the report, said the committee recommended that the dialogue process initiated with the sect members should be continued through the establishment of an Advisory Committee on Continuous Dialogue.

He made a case for the inclusion of some members of his committee, who he said, had established rapport with the insurgents and possessed the experience to achieve full and final resolution in the proposed advisory committee.

The advisory committee, he suggested, should have powers to advise the President on all matters related to dialogue and resolution and should liaise with security agencies on matters of disarmament and amnesty as well as post- conflict developments.

He also suggested that the Federal Government should consider setting up a Victims Support Fund to be administered by a new agency established specifically to assist victims of the insurgency.

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