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Nigeria graduates over 500 Boko Haram fighters in rehabilitation programme

By Dennis Erezi
14 March 2022   |   1:49 pm
The Nigerian government has graduated 559 former Boko Haram fighters in its rehabilitation programme. Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2015 established the Operation Safe Corridor to encourage willing and repentant Boko Haram members to surrender and go through a well-structured rehabilitation and deradicalisation and reintegration programmes. The programmed tagged de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration (DRR)…

A screengrab taken on November 9, 2014 from a new Boko Haram video released by the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram and obtained by AFP shows Boko Haram fighters on a tank parading in an unidentified town. The leader of the Nigerian Islamist extremist group Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, dismissed again government claims about ceasefire talks and threatened to kill the man who has presented himself as Boko Haram’s negotiator. AFP PHOTO / HO / BOKO HARAM

The Nigerian government has graduated 559 former Boko Haram fighters in its rehabilitation programme.

Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2015 established the Operation Safe Corridor to encourage willing and repentant Boko Haram members to surrender and go through a well-structured rehabilitation and deradicalisation and reintegration programmes.

The programmed tagged de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration (DRR) programme has graduated over 1000 former Boko Haram members who graduated from the programme since 2015, according to its cordinator Joseph Maina.

The programme commenced in 2016 by a committee constituted by the chief of defence staff to operationalise the mandate of President Buhari.

READ MORE: More than 15,000 Boko Haram terrorists have surrendered – NSA

At a graduation ceremony held in Gombe State on Sunday, the repentant terrorists were made to swear an oath of allegiance to the to the Nigerian government.

Maina said the graduating class arrived at the DRR camp between July 15 and September 6, 2021.

The DRR cordinator said the repentant fighters went through various rebuilding activities of the programme which includes medical screening, psychological and psychospiritual counselling, sports therapy, drug abuse counselling, western education and vocational training.

Maina explained that the programme is driven by personnel from the 17 services, ministries, departments and agencies to execute the concept of operation.

“Since the DRR camp became fully operational, a total of 1070 ex-combatants have successfully gone through the programme and have been reintegrated into society” Maina said.

Nigeria’s chief of army staff Lucky Irabor represented by a major-general Adeyemi Yekini urged the repentant terrorists to reciprocate the confidence reposed in them by the Nigerian government as there will be consequencies if they violate the oats taken after the programme.

“I want to remind you of the consequences of violating the oath of allegiance you have sworn,” Yekini said.

READ MORE: 8,000 Boko Haram fighters, family members surrendered in three months – Nigeria military

“You must uphold the pledge to be loyal to the federal government at all times and shun all forms of violence and criminality.”

He, however, noted that they might encounter rejections from the society, adding that they should “remember and practise everything you have learnt during the DRR programme, you will surmount these challenges.

“I urge you to go out there and be worthy ambassadors of Operation Safe Corridor by being law-abiding and responsible citizens.”