The Borno State Government on Thursday received 42 suspected Boko Haram members, who had been incarcerated by the Nigerian army for periods ranging from months to three years.
The military, affirming that the 42 suspects had spent years in detention, however, announced that they were cleared of all suspicions following thorough investigations.
The military also said three of the 42 released suspects were foreigners from Chad, Cameroon and Burkina Faso.
The deputy director, Defence Information, Colonel Sani Usman, who performed a handing over ceremony of all the suspects to Governor Kashim Shettima in Maiduguri, said they were arrested during various military raids.
Usman said each of the freed prisoners were given N100, 000 to enable them continue with their normal lives as free citizens.
“We in the Nigeria army will continue to do our best in the ongoing fight against insurgency until we get rid of this problem”, he said.
In his response, the governor commended the military for its magnanimity even as he gave an unspecified cash donation to the suspects.
“We commend the fairness, equity and justice displayed by the Nigeria Armed Forces towards releasing anybody found not to be involved in these terrorist activities”, he said.
“Amongst them are students, tailors, mechanics, provision stores owners and of course, quite a handful of them are drivers. We have a moral obligation to ensure that these young men at this time of their lives are actively engaged. Along this line, I wish to direct the road maintenance agency to include those that are drivers as employed truck drivers, while those that are tailors should be engaged in sewing uniforms for students and pupils in line with our education transformation program.
“Those that are farmers should be given the resources to improve their farming; while the traders would be given some token in addition to what the military gave them to boost their trade. The students among them should be assisted to return to school”.
Some of the freed prisoners were full of gratitude for their release with one of them, a 300-level student of Chemistry, saying it was another chance at life.