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Rights group faults alleged military recruitment of ex-Boko Haram fighters

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Engaging Chadian troops will be counter productive, says CALSER

The Coalition for Human Rights Monitoring Groups in Nigeria (CHRMGN) has refuted speculations that the Nigerian military recruited repentant Boko Haram terrorists into its ranks. It made the disclosure in a special report signed by Helen Adeshina and Bitrus Hosea Damut, after an investigation of the military’s recruitment process since 2015.

CHRMGN explained that about 250 repentant Boko Haram fighters enrolled for Federal Government’s de-radicalisation programme and were reabsorbed into their communities and not the Nigerian military. It further disclosed that 30 of the repentant Boko Haram fighters were fully engaged in religious activities aimed at discouraging youths from going into crime and terrorist activities.

According to the group, the military’s recruitment process is transparent and devoid of interference from any quarters and as such, there isn’t any room for former Boko Haram members.

The groups, however, urged the military to begin the process of informing members of the public of its recruitment process, adding, “There have been concerns that Boko Haram terrorists, who surrendered to troops and undergone de-radicalisation programmes organised by the Nigerian Military, were allegedly being absorbed into the military.

“Some media reports have also alleged that the military was recycling insurgency through the alleged recruitment. The Nigerian military had stated that the de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme is a Federal Government programme conducted under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor as a non-kinetic operation.

“It further stated that the de-radicalisation model is, therefore, not new in the global community, as such a model exists in Algeria, Colombia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where persons involved in violent extremism have been de-radicalised and rehabilitated and that the process is, therefore, an internationally accepted practice.”

Meanwhile, the Centre for Africa Liberation and Socio-Economic Rights (CALSER) has warned Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum and other governors against engaging Chadian soldiers to help fight insurgency, as it would be counter productive. CALSER’s counsel cited Zulum’s visit to Chad in January, where he met with Multinational Joint Task Force to discuss security-related issues in Borno, as a plot to engage troops from the country to fight terrorism.

Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja yesterday, its President, Princess Ajibola, revealed that Chad, like other Francophone neighbours, has not demonstrated enough genuineness of purpose in Nigeria’s war against insurgency.

According to the group, Chad has become a safe haven for fleeing Boko Haram insurgents when they come under heavy bombardment from the Nigerian troops. CALSER, therefore, advised Zulum and others considering enlisting Chadian soldiers to desist from undertaking actions and commitments capable of breaching national security in Nigeria, insisting that the move would be counter productive.

“We are saying this in furtherance of the objective of ensuring that the peace, progress and unity of Nigeria is preserved for this generation and future generations of our country. “We are unrelenting in this pursuit of national interest that has seen CALSER advancing causes that would protect and preserve our democracy over the years through our vibrant advocacies that have in time past yielded the desired result in the overall interest of the country,” Ajibola stated.


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