The Nigerian Army on Monday released over 150 “repentant” Boko Haram members to the Borno State Government.
The exercise was part of the ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ in the North-East.
The former militants were released to reunite with society after they had undergone rehabilitation in Gombe State at a centre established for the purpose.
The deradicalised and repentant terrorists were released to the Borno State Deputy Governor, Usman Kahdafur, in Maiduguri.
The Coordinator, “Operation Safe Corridor,” Maj. Gen. Bamidele Shafa, said the deradicalisation and the subsequent acceptance of the returnees back into society would encourage other insurgents still in the bush to lay down their arms.
Shafa said the returnees had been trained in various skills during the 52-week training before their graduation in November last year in Gombe State.
He said they were held for another eight months after their graduation because of the resurgence of Boko Haram activities.
“The government is magnanimous in receiving them as we have witnessed. So we keep telling them to embrace peace. They cannot continue to remain in the bush. Let them come out and be rehabilitated.
“A lot of sensitisation has been done through the traditional rulers before their return. We have 151 of them comprising 19 teenagers and 132 adults,” Shafa said.
He lamented that they were about 152 as of Friday last week, but one of them died after battling health complications at the Gombe Federal Medical Centre.
In his remarks, the deputy governor, on behalf of the Borno State Government, expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari for initiating the ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ for the deradicalisation of repentant Boko Haram terrorists.
– The Punch