Tukur Yusuf Buratai
The Nigerian Military on Monday insisted that contrary to insinuations in certain quarters, no die-hard Boko Haram insurgents (repentant terrorists) were absolved or recruited into security agencies even as it said 500 hardened terrorists have been tried and jailed.
Speaking at at a-one day capacity building workshop organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) for National Orientation Agency (NOA) and community leaders on Peace Building and Reconciliation, the Coordinator “Operation Safe Corridor”, Maj. Gen. Bamidele Shaffa, noted that till date no fewer than 500 members of the Boko Haram terrorists have been so tried and sentenced to various jail terms by the federal government.
He disclosed that till date 914 repentant Boko Haram terrorists have passed the “Operation Safe Corridor” and reintegrated to the society, but none have been extremists or hardcore Boko Haram members.
Gen Shaffa said all the reintegrated Boko Haram members were well documented and were monitored from time to time and could be rearrested if they relapsed.
He said the military had a responsibility to key into the determination of government to “see that peace returns to Borno,” while adding that the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, had also been working for the return of peace to the state as he had been going round in search of peace.
He said the federal government, as well, was highly committed to the return of peace in the Northeast, noting that “the military is working tirelessly to see that peace return and everyone is returned to their homeland.”
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He said further: “914 repentant Boko Haram terrorists that have passed the “Operation Safe Corridor” are well documented. The federal government has tried over 500 Boko Haram and sentenced them to various prison terms.
“Operation Safe Corridor is basically for those who were conscripted and joined for economic hardship and not for those extremists.
“No one of the repentant Boko Haram terrorists who had passed through the “Operation Safe Corridor” is returned without the involvement of the community leaders.
“We traced the family of returnees; we equally make them to visit them in our camp.
“Tomorrow (Tuesday) a delegation from Yobe State led by the Commissioner of Women Affairs will visit Gombe camp to talk to these group of people.”
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He said the Military had mechanism in place with partners to “monitor those that have been released,” adding that “they are handed over to the state and to the local governments and then into the community.
“They are documented and monitored from time to time. They are in group and given psychosocial support and there is a particular day in the month that they have to present themselves for the support.
“All those that have been reintegrated are continuously monitored by the police, DSS and the civilian JTF.
“Before they are reintegrated into the community, the police and DSS screen them.
“There are narrative that are going round that the people graduated are involved in attacks, it is wrong and is being emphasized or reinforced to defeat the programme.”
In his remarks, Prof. Mala Mustapha, Senior Research Fellow CDD, said the training would prepare Ulamas to use transitional justice to address atrocities and human rights violations perpetrated in the context of the Boko Haram insurgency in Northeast Nigeria.
Mustapha said: “The programme will engage community leaders who we considered as critical stakeholders in peace building and reconciliation . We believe that the community leaders and NOA will take the message of peace to the communities.”