By Kanayo Umeh, Abuja 16 February 2020.
The Defence Headquarters says it has rehabilitated and is releasing former Boko Haram fighters as a shift from the use of arms and weapons to a soft approach to the war against insurgency in the Northeast.
The Acting Defence Spokesman, Brig Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, who disclosed this, yesterday, in an interview with The Guardian in Abuja, explained that the initiative is only targeted at low-risk Boko Haram members, who were not captured during combat.Nwachukwu was responding to fears by Nigerians and calls for suspension of rehabilitation of repentant Boko Haram members into the society.
About 1,400 ‘repentant’ Boko Haram suspects, who were in detention, were recently released and resettled back into the society by the Nigerian military
Nwachukwu said: “In 2016, the Federal Government initiated Operation Safe Corridor (OSC) to de-radicalise repentant members of Boko Haram. It is not anything that is done haphazardly. The target audience is not those captured in combat. No!
“Those captured in combat are processed for prosecution, but the ones that have not been ideologically indoctrinated because they were conscripted; they were abducted are the ones being rehabilitated. They call them low-risk combatants. Those ones do not buy into Boko Haram agenda; they were forced into it. These repentant members have been assisting the military, by providing intelligence on Boko Haram’s activities…”