Appraising the Constitutionality and Justification for the use of Amnesty in Tackling Terrorism in Nigeria
Violent agitations which have taken terror dimensions are now a major concern for both the Nigerian government as well as the international community. Initially, it was the agitators from the southern part of the country where crude oil is produced, and now, the ‘Boko Haram’ sect from the Northern part of the country. To seek out a lasting solution to the senseless killing, the Nigerian president recently set up a committee, to work out a modality for the amnesty for the ‘Boko Haram’ terrorist sect as it was done for the Niger-Delta militants in the past. The major thrust of this paper therefore, is to appraise the constitutionality and justification for the use of amnesty in tackling terrorism in Nigeria. In doing this, the Nigerian constitutional provisions that relate to pardon are interpreted, analysed and applied to the government action on the programme. From the analysis, the study discovers that, granting amnesty though justified but it is unconstitutional because the Nigerian president fails to satisfy the constitutional requirement for such programme. To make the programme constitutional, the paper recommends an amendment to the Nigerian constitution as regard prerogative of mercy to include amnesty or the president should approach the National Assembly to enact new law permitting him to grant amnesty as a way of tackling terrorism in Nigeria.