One of the repentant Boko Haram fighters recently reintegrated into the society, Abdulwahab Usman has said he expected the Federal Government to kill him when he was captured.
Usman who spoke to Punch correspondents in an interview, hails from Bama, in Borno state which is still under the control of Boko Haram. The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Gulum was attacked when he tried to enter the town earlier in the week and was forced to retreat.
Usman also told correspondents that he and a host of others were captured and used as killing machines and camp attendants by the terrorists. He stated that he has no idea how many people he has killed or helped in killing which is why he did not expect his life to be spared when he was captured by the Nigerian Army.
He stated that the he was astonished at the treatment he and other captured fighters got from the Nigerian Government when they surrendered.
“None of us was killed during the de-radicalisation process. I really enjoyed my stay in the camp because many of us were not expecting such hospitality from the Nigerian government. We were well taken care of,” he said.
“They taught us different trades. In the camp, we were exposed to skill acquisition such as welding, barbing and carpentry etc. But I chose to learn barbing. When I return to my hometown, I wish to continue with barbing. I will not go back to Boko Haram.
“We were given the Quran because of our assurance that we would become good citizens. I will not return to that group (Boko Haram) no matter the suffering since the government has chosen to be responsive.
“I was forced into the group for about five years. I can’t remember the number of people I killed as a Boko Haram member because they are many. Boko Haram people came to our village looking for those who are of school age and that was how my friends and me were forced into the group. Eventually, we escaped from Boko Haram hideout, so soldiers took us to Giwa barracks in Borno.”
The former Boko Haram fighter urged Nigerian Government to extend its de-radicalisation programme to other terrorists who are willing to surrender. He said others will also surrender if they are assured of their safety just like him and 601 others rehabilitated.
The Military launched operation safe corridor in 2016 to de-radicalize and re-integrate captured Boko Haram members back into the society against the wishes of most Nigerians.
The recent release of 602 former fighters of the terrorist organisation has sparked nationwide outrage as the Buhari administration has been labelled as sympathetic to Boko Haram.
Most Nigerians feel, Boko haram members are being rewarded for killing Nigerians when the victims of their actions are still scattered in IDP camps all over the country.
Residents of Borno state have also vehemently opposed the programme and asked the government to keep its de-radicalized Boko Haram fighters in special government quarters instead of releasing them into the community where victims of their atrocities still live.
Senator Ali Ndume, representing Borno South also kicked against the program saying the insurgents will never repent.