Boko Haram: UN, ONSA to Adopt Regional Approach on Rehabilitation of Repentant Terrorists


UN counter-terrorism boss visits Nigeria next year

The Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate (CTED) of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has concluded plans with the federal government to discuss the prosecution, rehabilitation and re-integration of former Boko Haram members at a regional level.

 This will see the top hierarchy of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office visiting Nigeria next year for a possible summit with other countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) and West African sub-region on the issue.

The Chief of Africa Section of CTED, Ms. Samia Ladgham, disclosed this at the weekend in Abuja at the high-level segment on developing a comprehensive approach to deal with persons associate with Boko Haram (offenders, suspects and victims), Prosecution, Rehabilitation and Re-integration (PRR).

Ladgham said the comprehensive approach to PRR being championed by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in collaboration with the European Union, CTED and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) tagged: ‘Partnership Project II: Assisting Nigeria to strengthen rule of law-based criminal justice responses to terrorism’, will be sustained.

She also commended the federal government and ONSA for its approach to the issue of PRR to former members of Boko Haram, stressing that it’s a completely new method for most countries facing terrorism.

Ladgham vowed that CTED would be assisting the country to develop the needed mechanism, disclosing that the Chair of the UN Counter-Terrorism Office will be visiting the country next year for a planned regional summit on PRR.

“The issue of PRR of former Boko Haram members is a relatively new issue that the affected states are still grappling with, and we commend ONSA for bringing this issue to the table. This is an unchartered territory, but we will continue to support your efforts to tackle the challenges arising from the Boko Haram insurgency to develop an action plan

“Chair will visit Nigeria sometime next year to discuss the PRR at a regional level,” she said.

Earlier, the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd), said the consultative workshops were called to enable Nigerian authorities draw upon a range of experiences from other member states in working to overcome the challenges involved in developing and implementing re-integration and rehabilitation programmes and in tailoring effective approaches to the Nigerian context.

Monguno who was represented by Mr. Abba Ibrahim, said the two-day segment on PRR was to improve awareness of good practices, norms and standard in that area and in particular, applicable international human rights and humanitarian law.

“Identify what further support, guidance and assurance Nigerian authorities will require moving forward in expanding and strengthening their approach to re-integration and rehabilitation particularly in the context of developing an approach vis-a-vis a robust criminal justice dimension,” he said.

On her part, the UNODC Country Representative to Nigeria, Ms. Cristina Albertin, lauded the partnership with ONSA, UNSC-CTED and EU “in establishing clear aims for a criminal justice framework as part of an overall rehabilitation and re-integration approach, including criteria for an effective and appropriate prosecution strategy.”

Albertin who was represented by the UNODC Deputy Country Representative to Nigeria, Ms. Elizabeth Bay, said the agency is pleased to continue to supporting Nigeria’s counter-terrorism efforts.