11 October 2017

Nigeria: Security Expert Urges Caution Over Mass Release of Boko Haram Suspects

President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), Ona Ekhomu, has advised the Federal Government to exercise caution in the mass release of captured Boko Haram terrorists.

He said this was necessary so that society could be protected from incessant terrorist attacks by inadvertently recycling insurgents into the battlefield.

His words: "Releasing suspected terrorists should be based on concrete evidence of repentance and conversion to true Islam, which extols peace. There must be ample evidence of deradicalisation."

Ekhomu said the recent mass release of 760 Boko Haram suspects by the Joint Intelligence Center of Operation Lafiya Dole was rather hasty and ill advised, as it would tend to worsen the security situation of the Northeast and the country at large.

"The mass release of suspects without a rigorous investigation of each suspect would tend to worsen an already fragile security situation. "The Criminal Investigation Department of the Military Provost would have been better placed to conduct inquiries and make recommendations to government for a final decision" he said.

Ekhomu, who is the first chartered security professional in the country, said in 2017, a total of 2,603 Boko Haram suspects were released. "Prior to that, the activities of the previously released detainees should have been documented and analyzed to determine the success of the mass release programme. Without such a protocol, the programme would appear to be "opaque and arbitrary," he stated.

He urged the Federal Government to adequately fund the security programmes in the Northeast, saying the frequent mass release of Boko Haram suspects was based on the fact that the military authorities are not equipped to indefinitely detain prisoners of war.He, however, argued that turning the suspects over to the Borno State government appears to be a way to transferring responsibility from the military.


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