Freed 'repentant' Boko Haram members arrive Borno for rehabilitation

Repentant Boko Haram members arrive Maiduguri in Borno. [Premium Times]

The freed 'repentant' Boko Haram members will be fed, clothed, and provided with psycho-social support.

Premium Times reports that the released Boko Haram members include men, women, and children, who recently surrendered to troops in Niger Republic.

The 'former terrorists' arrived Maiduguri airport in a military aircraft, in the company of soldiers led by Bamidele Shafa, a major general who is the coordinator of the federal government Safe Corridor programme.

“We have just delivered 25 persons, comprising men, women, and children,” Shafa was quoted as saying.

According to the major general, the ex-Boko Haram members laid down arms and surrendered to the Niger republic government, who contacted the Nigerian government to take them home.

“So we have brought them home safely and handed them to the Borno State government for onward rehabilitation as part of the Operation Safe Corridor de-radicalization programme,” he added.

Shafa however encouraged other Boko Haram members to come forward and surrender themselves to the government.

He said, “We are using this opportunity to encourage those that are still in the bush to come out because the president of the Federal Republic has given them an open arm to drop their weapons and embrace peace.”

Zuwaira Gambo, the Borno State Commissioner of Women Affairs, who received the returnees promised that the state government “will provide them with psycho-social support, feed them, clothe them, and give some form of education and skills acquisition.

She added that a centre had been equipped by the Borno governor, Babagana Zulum, with skills acquisition tools that will enable them to gain skills before they are reunited with their families.

Societal stakeholders, including soldiers in the front-line in the war against terrorists, had however expressed anger and disappointment as the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is determined to put in place a rehabilitation structure for Boko Haram fighters.

Addressing issues raised concerning the release of the repentant Boko Haram members, Borno Commissioner for Information, Babakura Jato said it is true that the insurgents were released in large numbers.

Jato said most of the persons released were not actually Boko Haram members, adding that they were relatives of terrorists or persons found in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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