Nigeria to de-radicalise repentant Boko Haram militants


The Federal Government on Tuesday pledged to ensure the total de-radicalisation and rehabilitation of all ex-Boko Haram members before re-integrating them into the society in line with international best practices.

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, stated this at a National Stakeholders’ Forum on Re-integration in the North-East organised by the Kukah Centre in Abuja.

Olonisakin, who was represented by the Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC), Maj.-Gen. Bamidele Shafa, said the operation was designed by the government as part of efforts to find lasting solution to the lingering crisis in the North East.

The CDS said: “The OPSC is an initiative of the Federal Government which emanated from National Security Council meeting of September 2015, to encourage willing and repentant Boko Haram insurgents to surrender and embrace peace.

“The primary objective of the operation is to facilitate easy access and passage for surrendering insurgents to security forces for subsequent de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and re-integration process (DRR.”

He explained that the ex-combatants would be made to go through a 16-week DRR programme, involving advanced profiling, therapies, counseling, capturing on National Identity Card data and vocational training.

He said the OPSC is a joint multi-national and multi-agency humanitarian operation involving security agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) including National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Orientation Agency (NOA) and National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

“At the moment, there are 96 ex-combatants in camp (Gombe) while 565 women and children are being prepared to undergo a 12-week rehabilitation programme very shortly,’’ he added.

‎Olonisakin, however‎, said one major challenge for the programme was the notion in some quarters that the beneficiaries were being given undue favourable treatment at the expense of their victims.

He also said reluctance to accept the ex-combatants back into the society after the DRR was another challenge.

The CDS promised to continue to engage relevant stakeholders such as the Kukah Centre, community, and traditional and religious leaders in finding lasting peace in the North East.

‎The Bishop of Sokoto Catholic Diocese and convener of the programme, Rev. Matthew Kukah, said the forum was meant to develop a framework on continuous community engagement, reintegration and transitional justice in the North East.



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