The Nigerian army has handed over 151 repentant Boko Haram terrorists to the Borno state Government.
One of the repentant terrorists, Kyari Buguma, has called on his fellow terrorists yet to repent and who are still in the bush to lay down their arms to end insurgency and restore peace to the North-East.
Buguma made the call during the handover of the 151 repentant terrorists to Borno state Government by the military on Monday, at the Bulukuntu Rehabilitation Center in Maiduguri.
The Nigerian Army had handed over the repentant terrorists to the government after completion of 52-week de-radicalisation and rehabilitation conducted for them under “Operation Safe Corridor.’’
The repentant Boko Haram terrorists comprised 132 adults and 19 minors.
Operation Safe Corridor was designed to encourage Boko Haram insurgents to surrender and enhance de-radicalisation and rehabilitation of the insurgents to facilitate their reintegration into the society.
Buguma said that it was time for the insurgents to surrender and embrace amnesty programme initiated by the Federal Government.
He claimed that he had become a “Born Again’’ and patriotic Nigerian from Damboa Local Government Area of Borno.
The former insurgent disclosed that the rehabilitation had exposed them to various trades and training and made them verse in the true teachings of Islam as against the extremisms preached by Boko Haram.
“Apart from the skills acquisition training, we learnt true teachings of Islam as against the fanatical ideologies taught by the Boko Haram.
“Many of us here, who were hitherto illiterate, now learnt how to read and write; we can also write names and read.
“We are grateful to the government for supporting our de-radicalisation and rehabilitation to enable us become responsible members of society.
“I call on insurgents still in the bush to come out and surrender. They should ignore the lies spread by the Boko Haram.
“The government has granted amnesty and is willing to reintegrate us into the society,” he said.
Buguma commended the Federal Government for the amnesty programme and implementation of Operation Safe Corridor, adding that the gesture would go a long way to counter Boko Haram ideologies and end insurgency.
Another repentant insurgent, Tela Dandija, who hailed from Yobe, called for support to enable them to set up their businesses.
Danjida said that they were trained on trades, including tailoring, carpentry, welding and fabrication, fishery and poultry productions in the rehabilitation scheme.
He said that such support was imperative to enable them engage in productive activities, contribute to sustainable social and economic development as well as be fully reintegrated into the society.
Receiving the repentant terrorists, the Deputy Governor of Borno, Alhaji Umar Kadafur, commended the Federal Government over the implementation of “Operation Safe Corridor’’ to rehabilitate and reintegrate repentant terrorists into the society.
Kadafur said that the state government had adopted effective measures to accept the terrorists who were willing to voluntarily surrender and to create an enabling environment for them to re-join society.
He announced that the state had also directed community leaders to sensitise their people to the need to accept the rehabilitated terrorists, and warned against infringement on their rights.
The deputy governor assured that government would support the rehabilitated terrorists to set up their businesses to enable them engage in productive activities and become self-reliant.
The repentant terrorists recited the National Anthem to demonstrate their allegiance to constituted authorities and Nigeria.
The ceremony was attended by Maj.-Gen. Bamidele Shafa, the Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, representatives of humanitarian organisations and Borno’s Ministry of Women Affairs and Youth Development. (NAN)