Some of the people regarded as repentant Boko Haram members are victims of insurgency arrested at the wrong place, Zuwaira Gambo, Borno state commissioner for women affairs, said.
Gambo said the aim of the initiative was to create awareness to other members of the insurgent group that if they drop their arms they have a chance of being accepted into society
She said the term “repentant Boko Haram terrorists gives wrong signals to members of the public, especially victims of terrorism.”
According to her, the de-radicalisation and reintegration of members of Boko Haram by the Nigerian government have been misunderstood by the public as a result of a communication gap between the government and citizens.
“Some of the persons reintegrated are victims who had no part to play but were arrested in the course of security checks by the military as they were caught at the wrong time in a wrong place.
“Because they have spent time in detention between two to five years, there is need for rehabilitation, counselling and socio- psychological support.
“We are not saying that there are not some people who have partaken in destruction of lives and properties but these people are in the minority and you also have to understand that these set of people joined involuntarily as they are forced to do so.”
Earlier, The Herald reported that the military authority says no fewer than 608 repentant Boko Haram insurgents are currently undergoing De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) Programme by Operation Safe Corridor (OSC) at Malam-Sidi, Gombe State.
Brig:- Gen. Musa Ibrahim, Commandant DRR Camp OSC made this known when the Managing Director, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Mr Mohammed Alkali visited the camp on Saturday.
He said 14 of the repentant insurgents were foreigners from Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic.
Ibrahim said: “from inception we received 893 out of which 286 graduated and were returned to their respective states and countries for reintegration’’.
He said the personnel in the camp were working diligently with the mandate of OSC in conformity with international best practices.