A member of the Senate, Senator Istifanus Gyang, on Sunday kicked against a bill before the upper legislative chamber, seeking the creation of an agency for repentant Boko Haram insurgents.
Gyang, who is representing Plateau North Senatorial District, in a statement signed by his media aide, Musa Ashoms in Jos, described the bill sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe East) as an insult to Nigerians.
The piece of legislative document, christened bill for the creation of National Agency for Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of repentant insurgents in Nigeria, scaled the first reading at the Senate last week.
Gyang, who dissociated himself from the bill, said it is not only uncalled for but assaults the sensibility of Nigerians because most of the victims and communities affected by insurgency, banditry and violent attacks are still suffering from neglect and lack of the much-needed government attention and intervention despite repeated calls by concerned groups and individuals.
He said: “Attempts in certain quarters to compare and equate Boko Haram terrorists with the Niger Delta agitators which attracted the Presidential Amnesty Initiative and Programme under the administration of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, is, to Senator Gyang, ludicrous.
“Moreso, the Presidential Amnesty Programme was not a product of legislation but of government policy and has remained so. It was an intervention programme with a timeline and terminal date, unlike the pro-Boko Haram Bill which intends to create an agency that will exist in perpetuity.
“By the proposed legislation, terrorism becomes a permanent feature to feed and sustain the activities of the agency which can best be described as a terrorist breeding agency.
“The bill is simply an attempt to use the National Assembly particularly the Senate, to acquiesce, placate and incentivize terrorism.”
The Senator appealed to his colleagues to reject the bill in its entirety because of its negative implications for the security of the nation, adding “to do otherwise is to incentivize terrorism and put the nation in perpetual harm’s way.”