Nigeria Scheme Snubs Ex-Boko Haram Women

Laying down arms (file photo).

Abuja, Nigeria — Nigeria's programme to rehabilitate repentant members of the Boko Haram has come under criticism for shunning women that quit the terror group.

The criticism comes as the West African country has rehabilitated about 900 ex-insurgents under the Operation Safe Corridor (OSC).

It is the biggest project by Nigeria to address the terrorism that has left thousands dead and millions displaced northeast of the country.

Nextier Security, Peace and Development (SPD) however said the programme appeared male-focused and repentant women were merely released back to their communities.

"Processes for females with links to Boko Haram are not clear," the Abuja-based think-tank stated.

According to the experts, the government's programme overlooks the fact that some women were involved as perpetrators.

Nextier SPD said the chances of survival for women with links to Boko Haram would be worse even as they were reportedly released into communities without adequate psychosocial support and empowerment.

In some cases, these women are snubbed by the community.

There is concern therefore that with no means of livelihood or support, the chances of the women returning to Boko Haram remain high.

"The amnesty programme must be accompanied by an approach that specifically caters for the needs of women in the programme," Nextier SPD recommended.

The Boko Haram has killed more than 30 000 civilians since its rebellion in 2009.

It seeks to create an Islamic state northeast of Nigeria.

More than 2 million people have been displaced. An estimated 8 million people in the region are food-insecure.

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