Borno state Governor, Babagana Zulum has stated that efforts to deradicalize and integrate ‘repentant’ members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect is not working.
According to the Governor, it is making things difficult for security agencies in the North East.
The military in 2016 launched Operation Safe Corridor, an initiative for the deradicalisation and rehabilitation of ex-Boko Haram members.
The aim of the operation, the military said, is to reintegrate repentant Boko Haram members into society. More than 500 ex-Boko Haram members have already completed the re-education programme.
But while speaking at the North-East Governors’ Forum meeting in Bauchi on Thursday, Zulum called for immediate review of the programme because some of the ex-Boko Haram members only come to spy on communities and then return to join the group.
“Another aspect of the war against the insurgency that needs to be urgently reviewed or modified, is the issue of deradicalisation of Boko Haram terrorists, who have been captured or have willingly surrendered themselves to the authorities,” he said.
“It has been confirmed that the concept of deradicalisation or Safe Corridor is not working as expected. Quite often, those who have passed through the Safe Corridor initiative, or have been deradicalised, usually go back and rejoin the terror group after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process.
“In addition, the host communities where the reintegration process is going on usually resent the presence of Boko Haram terrorists, even if they have been deradicalised, because of the despicable and atrocious activities they have committed in the past.
So the idea of deradicalisation, as currently being implemented, needs to be reviewed because the main goals and the underlying objectives behind the initiative are not being achieved.”
The Governor also called for immediate prosecution of sect members under the Terrorism Act. The safe corridor initiative was criticized by many Nigerians when it launched as a blow to the families of victims and individuals who have died from the heinous acts of the terrorists.