Zuwaira Gambo, Borno state commissioner for women affairs, says ‘repentant Boko Haram members’ being released are only victims of insurgency arrested at the wrong place.
According to Gambo, former insurgents are being released so that other members of the insurgents could be encouraged to drop their arms and with the assurance that will be accepted into society.
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Gambo added that the term “repentant Boko Haram terrorists give wrong signals to members of the public, especially victims of terrorism”.
Speaking at a forum on preventing and countering violent extremism organised by Search for Common Ground (SFCG) in partnership with UN Women and the government of Japan in Abuja at the weekend, Gambo said, “Some of the persons reintegrated are victims who had no part to play but were arrested in the course of security checks by the military as they were caught at the wrong time in a wrong place. ”
“Because they have spent time in detention between two to five years, there is need for rehabilitation, counselling and socio- psychological support.
“We are not saying that there are not some people who have partaken in destruction of lives and properties but these people are in the minority and you also have to understand that these set of people joined involuntarily as they are forced to do so.”
In 2016, the military launched Operation Safe Corridor, an initiative for the de-radicalisation and rehabilitation of former Boko Haram members.
This development had stirred concerns among some soldiers at the war front in the north-east.
Onyema Nwachukwu, defence headquarters’ spokesperson, said the release was in line with Operation Safe Corridor.