World Bulletin / News Desk
Nigeria cannot grant amnesty to Boko Haram until its members come out from the shadows, President Goodluck Jonathan said on Thursday, on his first state visit to the northeastern region.
Jonathan has been criticised for not going sooner to Yobe and Borno states, where hundreds have died.
"I cannot talk about amnesty with Boko Haram now until they come out and show themselves," Jonathan told reporters in Yobe state capital Damaturu, a town regularly hit by the attacks.
Nigeria's Muslim spiritual leader, the Sultan of Sokoto, suggested this week members of Boko Haram should be offered an amnesty, similar to the one given to militants in the oil-producing Niger Delta in 2009.
The delta amnesty deal pulled thousands of armed youths out of the creeks and almost wiped out attacks on oil pipelines, which had choked off Africa's biggest oil industry.
"Some people are comparing Boko Haram with the Niger Delta but, in Niger Delta if you call them (militants), they will come out. But the Boko Haram don't and we can't grant amnesty to ghosts," Jonathan said during his one day visit.
Africa's most populous is split roughly equally between Christians and Muslims.Last Mod: 07 Mart 2013, 17:39