By Chinenye Festus:-
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin, while Speaking on Saturday, at the graduation ceremony said No fewer than 601 members of the ‘batch 4 2019 clients’ have graduated from the De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) Camp, in Mallam Sidi, Kwami LGA of Gombe State.
General Olonisakin appreciated North East Development Commission for its support called on state governments to assist in the integration of the ‘clients’ (repentant Boko Haram Terrorists). He, however, warned those yet to embrace the DRR program to do so, adding that it will be in their own interest.
The Chief of Defence Staff, who was represented by Director Education, Rear Admiral V C Okeke, noted that the 601 clients had denounced membership of the sect, before a 12-man judicial committee.“I have observed steady progress of the scheme and no doubt it is a working strategy complementing other efforts of the Federal government to restore peace in the North East,”.
” To this end, the armed forces in Nigeria and other security agencies operating in the North East will provide safe passage for you to lay down your arms for good.
” As these clients are being reintegrated, let me seize this opportunity to advise members of Boko Haram and Islamic State of West Africa Province, ISWAP, still lurking around in the bushes to lay down their arms, embrace peace and join the re-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration programme in their own interest,” the Chief of Defense Staff stated.
Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum who was represented by the state commissioner for Justice and Attorney General Kaka Lawan commended the resilience of the 601 clients for successfully passing through the deradicalization process.
The Coordinator Operation Safe Corridor Maj. Gen. Bamidele Shafa revealed that 606 clients were admitted for batch 4 of 2019 de-radicalization programme, stressing that to have 601 of them graduate is a major success.
“Among which 280 including two Chadians have been successfully transferred to their Nationals and state authorities for reintegration. Am glad to inform you that these clients have been fully reintegrated and wholly accepted by their host communities.
“Since 2017 when the first set of 29 graduated and reintegrated, there has been no negative report concerning any of them. Today, the largest set of 601 are graduating for reintegration to their nation and state.
“Out of the 601 graduates of the batch 4 client which arrived in 2 chalk on 27 November and 14 December 2019, 592 are Nigerians from 10 states of the federation while 14 are foreign Nationals from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger,” Maj. Gen. Shafa noted.
He said out of this number, three died of health complications while one was referred for further medical treatment at the Neuro-psychiatric Hospital in Maiduguri.
Shafa said another one was withdrawn on the disciplinary ground and transferred for re-categorization and prosecution.
In a related development,
The 601 repentant terrorists who are being reintegrated into their communities have been given N20,000 stipends and some basic equipment to practice their respective vocations.
The Borno State Commissioner for Information, Babakura Jatau, said this during a chat with Sunday Punch on Saturday.
Jatau said the funds and the starter packs were given to the repentant terrorists by the North East Development Commission and the International Organisation for Migration.
He denied reports that the state government was giving each of the beneficiaries N100,000.
The commissioner said only about 10 per cent of the 601 repentant terrorists were actually Boko Haram members while the rest were those who were abducted and became accomplices.
The commissioner said, “They are 601 of them, and the question of government giving them N100,000 each does not arise. What happened is that the North East Development Commission gave them starter packs. Some of them trained as barbers so they were given clippers and generators and then given N20,000 cash and their shops will be paid for.
“What the government will do is that they will be brought to Borno State from Gombe and they will be housed in two orientation camps where there are facilities for training and for them to practice whatever they were taught in Gombe.”
The Defence Headquarters had on Saturday announced the reintegration of 601 ex-Boko Haram terrorists, including 14 foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger into the society through their respective national and state authorities.
The Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, Major General Bamidele Shafa, disclosed this on Saturday at the DRR Camp in Mallam Sidi, Gombe State.
However, a former Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, told Sunday Punch that the decision to re-integrate the repentant Boko Haram members was ill-timed.
Ejiofor said Nigeria’s ability to manage and utilize data was not sufficient.
He stated, “It is an unfortunate decision as far as I am concerned and it is not welcome at all. If you are taking their DNA, that is not enough because do we even have data? It will increase crime rate and banditry in that area. The government should have thought this through and not reintegrate them into society just like that. It is not a welcome development.”
By Chinenye Festus:-