Boko Haram Insurgents Ready to Lay Down Arms, Says Yobe Senator

Ibrahim Gaidam

Deji Elumoye in Abuja

The All Progressives Congress (APC) senator representing Yobe East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, yesterday disclosed that many Boko Haram terrorists are willing to lay down their arms but are afraid of the consequences of their action.

The former governor of Yobe State, who proposed a bill for the education, deradicalisation, and rehabilitation of the repentant insurgents, on the floor of the Senate last week, stated this in an interview with journalists in Abuja.

The senator explained that his bill was not meant to take care of insurgents captured by the security agencies because those ones would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

He also said contrary to claims by those who were opposing the proposed legislation, the victims of the Boko Haram insurgents are already being taken care of by the North East Development Commission.

Gaidam said some of his colleagues who are currently kicking against the bill had yet to know details of the proposed legislation, arguing that it was meant to completely tackle insurgency in the North East since the use of force seems not to be achieving the desired objectives.

He said, “There is no doubt that many members of the insurgents’ group have defected and many more are willing to repent given a window of opportunity and this is confirmed by many organisations, including non-governmental organisations that have unalloyed access to the Boko Haram insurgents.

“The Boko Haram insurgency is becoming increasingly aggressive since its inception in 2009, marked by extreme brutality and explicit targeting of civilians, resulting in continued infliction of massive casualty on innocent citizens.

“It has become necessary for us to go back to the drawing board and adopt an alternative approach, in addition to the military option which has so far performed significantly

“There is the need for a more strategic and comprehensive approach to entice those members of the group who, after realising the futility of the course they are pursuing have eventually decided to voluntarily lay down their arms and chose the path of peace – hence, the need for the establishment of the National Agency for the Rehabilitation, Deradicalisation, and reintegration of repentant insurgents to accommodate the defectors.

“The Agency when established shall be charged with the responsibility of the planning, designing and organising specialised programmes aimed at deradicalising, rehabilitating and reintegrating defectors and repentant insurgents.

“These specialised programmes which will serve as mechanisms for disengagement from terrorist’s ideology and invalidate the recourse to violence will focus on ideological, religious, educational, vocational, social, creative arts therapy, sports and recreation, and psychological issues that cause violent extremism.”