Military to Reintegrate 613 Repentant Terrorists into Society
Irabor: Boko Haram, ISWAP degraded by military firepower
Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
The military high command, yesterday, disclosed that some 613 repentant terrorists undergoing a programme of deradicalisation in Gombe State, would be reintegrated into the society by next month, February.
It said the repentant insurgents, who were expected to be released to various countries and states were to be provided with starter kits to start small businesses and enable them start a new life.
Critics had viewed the impact of the activities of the insurgents, who were described as “low profile” by military authorities as given expression in the over seven million displaced persons and thousands of deaths of civilians and military personnel over the years and the psychological effect on the actual victims of the insurgency.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of a stakeholders’ meeting to work out modalities for the transfer of repentant terrorists to state governments, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Lucky Irabor, said combined air strikes and artillery bombardments, had degraded terror groups, Boko Haram and the Islamic State for West African Province (ISWAP), forcing mass surrender of 80,000 insurgents and their families and restricting remnants to a small part of Sambisa Forest.
“This meeting is part of the activities geared towards the successful transfer of rehabilitated clients to their state government authorities for reintegration. Far reaching decisions are usually taken at these sessions and I have been particularly impressed with the manner at which the outcomes had been implemented.
“This is yet another session, and my expectation
is that all issues that would lead to the successful transfer and eventual
reintegration of the 613 clients currently undergoing
the De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) Programme
would be exhaustively discussed.
“It is important to remind us all that the
Armed Forces of Nigeria have been involved in dealing with the menace of
insurgency for over 12 years now.
“Currently, BHT/ISWAP have been significantly
degraded and their activities are restricted to a small portion of Sambisa
Forest and isolated islands on the Lake Chad from where the sects carry out
occasional attacks on soft military and civilian targets.
“Through consistent and effective air
interdictions along with well- coordinated clearance operations on positively
identified strongholds of the insurgents, troops have continued to inflict
heavy casualties on the groups and their leadership cadre. These sustained
operations continue to put pressure and confusion within the ranks of the adversary
causing many to surrender to the AFN.
“As at today, over 80,000 insurgents and their family members have surrendered while those captured have been
tried and convicted to various jail terms by the law courts. As we speak, many
more captured combatants are being held in several correctional facilities and
their trial is ongoing,” he said.
According to him, Operation Safe Corridor
(OPSC) was established by government to create opportunities for willing
and repentant terrorists to lay down their arms and undergo a structured DRR
“The scheme is a multi-agency and
humanitarian operation, which draws from the expertise of over
17 services, ministries, departments and agencies with the
support of local and international organisations as well as interested friendly
“I can only describe this whole of government
approach and the huge synergy existing among all players in OPSC as awesome.
Therefore, it is gratifying to inform this gathering that the successes of OPSC
continues to resonate within the region and in the diaspora, thereby attracting
the interest of researchers from far and wide.
“I must emphasise that it is critical for all
stakeholders involved in the reintegration processes in order to mitigate, or
completely eliminate incidences of recidivism”, Irabor, who
was represented by the Chief of Defence Training and Operation, Maj
Gen MA Yekini, said.
Earlier, Coordinator of the OPSC, Maj Gen JY
Maina, listed the state governments involved to include Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno,
Gombe, Jigawa, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Plateau, Sokoto,
Taraba, Yobe and Zamfara.
Reiterating that the operation
consisted of personnel drawn from
17 services, ministries, departments and agencies, he
noted further that since the commencement of the Programme in 2016,
OPSC had successfully processed 1,573 clients comprising 1,555 Nigerians and 18
foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad and Niger