Irabor: 51,828 Boko Haram Fighters, Family Members Surrender in 18 Months

Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City

The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, has disclosed that between July 2021 and May 2022, about 51,828 Boko Haram fighters and their family members had surrendered to the federal government

General Irabor disclosed this at the weekend while delivering a lecture at the 7th Founders’ Day ceremony of the Edo State University, Uzairue, titled: “National Defence Policy and Transitional Justice Approach in the War Against Insurgency in Nigerian.”

According to him, “between July 2021 to May 2022 alone, no fewer that 51,828 Boko Haram and their family members have surrendered, out of which 13,360 are fighters.”

He further disclosed that 1,543 repentant terrorists have so far graduated from Mallam Sidi camp, in Gombe state between 2016 and 2022, while 1,935 have been released from the camp in Bulumkutu, Maiduguri.

He said: “Operation Safe Corridor’ as a transitional justice approach was created similar to the Niger Delta Amnesty programme launched by the federal government in 2009 which involved the setting up of special facilities where repentant terrorists who surrendered their arms can be rehabilitated.”

“The programme offers numerous opportunities and participants arescheduled for vocational training to ease their reintegration into the society.”

The CDS, however, said despite the modest successes recorded by operation safe corridor in the fight against crime, the programme still faced a lot of challenges.

He listed some of challenges to include lack of specialised training experts and inadequate physical structure; inadequate collaboration and coordination; absence of appropriate legislation on reintegration; low agency and international participation; as well as ineffective monitoring system.

He  identified the way forward to include: train-the-trainers programme and establishment of special fund for  Deradicalisation, Reintegration and Reorientation (DRR), establishment of a national commission for DRR, enacting of a DRR Act, building of strategic partnerships and adoption of a whole-of-society approach to monitoring.

He explained that  in any counter insurgency, transitional justice plays a key role in healing wounds such as Nigerian Civil War and the Niger Delta crisis, adding that Operation Safe Corridor had achieved some degree of successes which could be built upon.

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor commended the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Mr. Philip Shaibu for their continuous support for the university and for creating enabling environment for the university to strive.

The university boss also, thanked the guest lecturer, Gen. Irabor for accepting to deliver this year’s founder’s day lecture of the university.

He, however requested CDS to take a tour of the university, saying that the beauty of the university was  not just the architectural masterpiece, but in the content and facilities available for teaching and research.

 Aluyor said that the lectures over the years have gradually shaped the outlook of the Edo State University Uzairue founder’s day ceremony where both students and parents look forward to the lecture where important issues on how Nigeria can be harnessed  into a country of our collective dreams are delivered.

According to him, “Edo State University Uzairue since inception have been committed to pursuit of world class goals in teaching, learning and research which is why we are proud of our products”.

He further stated that last year some of the lecturers and researchers were  listed among the first 500 researchers in Nigeria while the nursing and medical laboratory students recorded 100 per cent successes in their Council’s exams.

The VC particularly thanked the governor for the upgrade of the general hospital Auch to Edo State University Uzairue Teaching Hospital which he said contributed to the full accreditation of the MBBS programme of the university by the medical and dental council of Nigeria.

“We are not resting in taking the university to a greater height as we planned to open up new programmes such as Pharmacy and post graduate programmes in other areas to compliment what we already have on ground” he concluded.

On his part, Edo State governor and the visitor to the university, Mr Godwin Obaseki represented by Hon. Inusa Imhonopi commended the management of the university for the successful hosting of this year’s founder’s day.

He said that the present administration was consistent in chatting a progressive course for the university as the government is doing its best while the management is also doing its best and urged them to see that the university remains on top.

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