Senor Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu has warned Nigerians to accept the repentant Boko Haram terrorists released back into society by the Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government if they do not want the former terrorists to go back to their old ways.
The presidential aide in a statement also denied rumours that the Nigerian government was recruiting repentant Boko Haram terrorists into the Nigerian Army. He said none of the recently released 601 repentant terrorist was being absorbed into the Nigerian Military.
Excerpts from his statement read;
“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 They must no longer represent a danger to society or to themselves.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’re certified as such, communities have the duty of accepting them. Unless they want them to take up arms and resume terrorism from which they’ve repented, community leaders must work with the relevant agencies to end their rejection.”
Garba Shehu stressed further that there is no plan for the absorption of Boko Hara terrorists into the Nigerian Military and no serious leader should fall for what he described as fake news.
He said the Federal Government under President Buhari was conscious of its responsibility to the Nigerian state, especially the victims of terrorist activities in the country.
The Presidential aide said;
“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 is important that we step in to clear the false reports that the administration is absorbing repentant Boko Haram terrorists into the military.
“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. 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’s 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”.