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“Jonathan did not promise Amnesty to Boko Haram” – Reuben Abati



Reuben Abati - Bella Naija

Special Adviser to the President on media and publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, is refuting claims made by the Minister of Youth Development, Boni  Haruna that President Goodluck Jonathan has granted conditional amnesty to Boko Haram.

Commenting on the president’s Democracy Day speech, from which Haruna apparently deduced that Amnesty was granted, Abati said the word “amnesty” was never used.

“…I don’t think the President used the word Amnesty.”

The President spoke about those who are willing to denounce terrorism, those who are ready to embrace peace, opportunities have been created for them through the presidential fact finding committee on dialogue and peace resolution of conflicts in the north-eastern part of Nigeria. So I will refer you basically to the speech by the President.

President in the democracy address explained that despite Federal Government’s disposition for possible reconciliation with any terrorist group, it would be on the condition that they are prepared to lay down arms.

For our citizens who have joined hands with Al Qaeda and international terrorists in the misguided belief that violence can possibly solve their problems, our doors remain open to them for dialogue and reconciliation, if they renounce terrorism and embrace peace” Abati said.


  1. Fleur Rouge

    June 1, 2014 at 6:35 am

    I am dizzy. There are words and then the words have meanings that are expressed in tense format, also called the long form. So, let me get this straight. You create opportunities to forgive terrorists who verbally renounce their ways (unfortunately we cant measure the weight of such proclamations in their hearts due to lack of technology) and that is not the same as granting amnesty? Or does the president have to use the term amnesty otherwise it cannot be called amnesty? I am so dizzy, someone please help.

  2. Bee

    June 1, 2014 at 9:12 am

    This is the problem with this government – conflicting, incoherent messages. They are shooting themselves in the leg with this degree of incoordination. Firstly, the army says a day or two after the Chibok kidnap that the girls have been released only for that to be refuted a couple of days later; secondly, a section of the administration refutes that girls were really kidnapped at Chibok (saying it’s an opposition APC work to discredit the administration) while another section acknowledges that it really happened; thirdly, mixed messages arise that the president was going to visit Chibok, but then he ends up in France; fourthly, a military chief says the Chibok girls have been sighted but cannot be freed immediately by force so as not endanger the lives of the girls. Instead of giving a clear message through a well arranged press conference (not the hasty interviews that officials give in front of airports or their offices on their way to a meeting), the presidency waited a couple of days before refuting the sighting claims of the military chief. Lastly, two or three days ago the Youth Development Minister says conditional amnesty has been granted Boko Haram by the presidency. This was carried on TV and newspapers that I watched and read. However it took an entire three days or so for Abati to refute that claim. These are the conflicting-messages instances that I remember. I’m sure there are more. Even if some of these conflicting messages arise from gossip, can’t the administration see that it’s the result of lack of information that fuels these rumours? All the president needs to do is have a very effective information unit, that tells the truth though – not propaganda. As it is now there is too many senseless information coming from military public relations (Chritopher Olukolade), Labaran Maku, Reno Omokri, Reuben Abati, Doyin Okupe, and the head of the NOA who is also head of the anti-terror information unit hastily put together after #BringBackOurGirls put international pressure on the government (can’t remember the man’s name).
    Mschew! GEJ sure makes it hard to argue on his behalf.

    • Tincan

      June 1, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Agree. Between Pres. Jon, Reuben Abati and Reno Omokri, they can’t even get their story straight. It’s cause for concern. They always seem to be back peddling… Incompetence at its peak.

  3. Jo!

    June 1, 2014 at 11:11 am

    Mr Abati, how does selling ones soul feel like?

  4. Kennedy

    June 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Amnesty what? For what reason? We will fight till †ђξ last munit

  5. princess

    June 1, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Sigh! Man-made confusion! I agree with you Bee, we need an effective communications unit asap

  6. ibukungeorge

    June 1, 2014 at 7:18 pm

    So confused government*sad

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