19 January 2018

Nigeria: 95 Ex-Boko Haram Fighters Set for Release

Ninety five ex-Boko Haram terrorists that have been rehabilitated under the Deradicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) programme are now set to be reintegrated into the society.

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja when he declared open a stakeholders meeting to work out modalities for the reintegration of rehabilitated ex-Boko Haram fighters.

Olonisakin recalled that in January 2017, six cleared suspected terrorists successfully underwent the programme and were reunited with their families in Borno, Kaduna and Kogi States.

He also recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari, had at a National Security Council meeting in September 2015, directed the establishment of "Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC)."

The corridor was to create opportunity for willingly surrendered and repentant Boko Haram fighters to undergo a deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme.

The programme was to facilitate their return to normal life.

The CDS said following the directive of the president, a committee comprising the governors of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States, the service chiefs and the Inspector-General of Police was constituted under his chairmanship.

Other members of the committee, he said, were: the Director General of NEMA, Chief of Intelligence Agency and a Director from the Office of the National Security Adviser, NSA.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Olonisakin said the 95 ex-fighters had undergone a 16-week DRR programme involving various social and spiritual counselling, introductory elementary formation education and vocational training, among others.

He said he was satisfied they were fit to be reintegrated into the society.

"I have followed keenly activities in the camp since the ex-fighters arrived therein and I believe that they are different from who they were six months ago.

"The ex-fighters have been transformed, made to imbibe good characters and habits, and have also learnt vocational trades to empower them.

"The next stage of the programme, re-integration is the most important and complex aspect of the DRR programme.

"It requires painstaking planning and careful execution.

"Hence the need for our gathering here today to work out modalities for the smooth transfer of the ex-fighters to their respective state authorities and eventually to their relations," he said.

The CDS advised the stakeholders to "carefully examine all issues and come up with workable recommendations" to facilitate their hitch-free re-integration, resettlement and empowerment.

Giving the breakdown of the 95 ex-fighters, Adegoke Adetuyi, the Commandant of the DRR, said 91 of them hailed from Borno, two from Yobe and one each from Adamawa and Bauchi States.

Bamidele Shafa, the Coordinator of the OPSC, said that so far the body had facilitated the rehabilitation of 750 cleared men, women and children, who had been released to their states.

According to him, the operation formally began its activities at its camp in Gombe State on April 22, 2016.

According to him, at the moment, there are 254 ex-fighters in the camp undergoing the DRR programme among which the first set of 95, who have completed their programme are due to be transferred to their respective state authorities for reintegration into the society.

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