NewsOne Nigeria reports that the Presidency declared that there are no plans to recruit repentant Boko Haram members into the Nigerian military after they graduate from the de-radicalization programme.
The clarification was contained in a statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity on Wednesday evening.
Shehu noted that the clarification became necessary in response to some fake news been peddled in certain quarters that the government plans to recruit repentant Boko Haram fighters into the military.
According to the Presidential spokesman, the end result of the rehabilitation programme been offered to the repentant insurgents is to restore them to their communities and not to be employed by the military.
The statement read as thus; “Now that groups with hitherto proven bona fides, some religious leaders and a few in the legislature have joined the supply chain of fake news, it important that we step in to clear the false reports that the administration is absorbing repentant Boko Haram terrorists into the military.”
“It is important for the public to know that nobody has ever been absorbed into the military from the de-radicalized Boko Haram and there is no such plan for their absorption.”
“None of the 601 former Boko Haram members who voluntarily laid down their arms, and have recently graduated from the Federal Government’s de-radicalization and rehabilitation programme, is going into the military.”
The Presidency while noting that four batches of repentant insurgents have already passed through the rehabilitation programme codenamed Operation Safe Corridor, reassured the public that those absorbed into the programme are repentant fighters that were captured and forced to bear arms in the first instance and not the ideologically hardened terrorists.
Shehu added that even those who go through the programme are not released back into society until they have been certified to be truly repentant and ready for a normal life.
“This is the fourth such graduation of repentant Boko Haram fighters and not one of such graduates has been absorbed into the military.
“The public needs to be reassured that the de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremists of the Buhari administration code-named “Operation Safe Corridor,” follows an established example from countries with similar experiences, and is supported academically and materially by the European Union and the United Nations.
“The lead agency for the implementation of the programme in Gombe is the International Organization for Migration, a leading inter-government organization which is represented in Nigeria
“It is also important to note that this programme does not have a place for hard-boiled, ideologically hardened terrorists. It only admits, after careful scrutiny, repentant fighters that were captured and forced to bear arms in the first instance, and there are many who have been drafted by force.
“At the point of their graduation, a determination is made that the former combatants have repented and are better citizens, imbued with genuine nationalism. They must no longer represent a danger to society or to themselves.
“Where they are certified as such, communities have the duty of accepting them. Unless they want them to take up arms and resume terrorism from which they have repented, community leaders must work with the relevant agencies to end their rejection.
“The Buhari administration is a responsible one and is conscious of its duty to the state and society, and to the victims of terror as well as to those who inflicted these pains and losses on our people.”