Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq, has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari granted amnesty to repentant Boko Haram insurgents.

According to her, the reason for the pardons was for the ex insurgents to have a re-think and denounce terrorism so that they could be assisted in different areas of human development.

Umar-Farouq stated this when she received in audience the representatives of the Chief of Defence staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonishaki, led by the Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, Maj.-Gen Bamidele Shaffa, in Abuja.

In a statement signed by the Assistant Director, Information, Rhoda Ishaku Iliya, Minister Umar-Farouq said: “In ensuring that the Buhari-led government achieve its vision in addressing the insecurity and insurgency challenges facing this nation, the Federal Government have given a welcoming hand or an opportunity to repentant Boko Haram members to have a re-think and denounce terrorism so that they could be assisted in different areas of human development.

“It is a very important programme for the ministry, one of the mandates of the ministry is to focus on the early recovery aspect of the North-East region and one of such components of early recovery is re-integration, rehabilitation of these affected communities and the repentant Boko Haram insurgents.”

She commended the efforts and initiatives of Operation Safe Corridor, noting that it would address the challenges of insecurity and “to a very large approached in the de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of these insurgents adding that this strategy is very important especially in the North-East today.”

Shaffa said the meeting was to brief the Minister on the activities of Operation Safe Corridor which is believed to have fallen on the scope of humanitarian functions of the ministry.

According to him, OPSC, since its establishment in 2016, has graduated 280 repentant members of the insurgency including two Chadians and had been transferred to their states and country for re-integration back to the society.

“I wish to state that the group are doing well in their various communities with no report of hostility against them or any case of misdemeanour against anyone of them in the communities where they have been integrated.”

He encouraged family visitation to the camp to reunite the repentant members with their families, provide room for reconciliation and sense of belonging. He also urged prominent personalities to visit the camp to interact with the boys and reassure them of acceptance.

Shaffa disclosed that there were no plans to recruit the boys into the Nigerian Army as being speculated by fake news advocates.

“No member of the repentant insurgents is qualified to be recruited in the Army,” he added.

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