Security stakeholders have been urged to chart a roadmap for the disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) of the repentant and captured Boko haram terrorists in the North East.
The Nigerian Army Resource Centre (NARC) in collaboration with NEEM Foundation on Tuesday organised a Two-Day Roundtable Discussion on DDR, Peacebuilding, and Reconciliation in the North East in Abuja.
Neem Foundation is a Non-Governmental Organisation that is committed to improving the lives of those affected by the North-East insurgency in Nigeria through building inclusive communities, providing and raising the standards of psycho-social care and countering extremist narratives.
The Minister of Interior, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, said that peace was not negotiable, adding that relevant stakeholders must work towards peace.
Aregbesola called for concerted efforts to ensure total disarmament and reintegration of the repentant terrorists as well as encouraging those still fighting to surrender.
“Now that the ongoing kinetic effort of the enemy capability has been degraded and dismantled to a large extent, all effort must now be geared towards developing the consensus which allows those of them who are still in doubt to surrender.
“All stakeholders inclusive must work on this non-kinetic doctrine to achieve a stable environment so that post-conflict development can be fully deployed in a sustainable manner,” he said.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai said that the situation in the northeast has yet to reach the level of disarmament but demobilisation and reintegration.
Buratai said that in a conflict situation where there was the use of arms, dislocations, casualties both within the city and the military, destruction of properties and dislocation of individuals, it was important to first of all disarm.
“In a normal situation we are not yet there because I have been involved in peacekeeping observer mission with the UN in the 90s.
“One part must agree to disarm but in this case, the other party, ISWAP and Boko Haram terrorists are still carrying arms.
“But very importantly why we must do that, there are some individuals within the factions of the terrorists that are willing to surrender and some of them are surrendering willingly and we have taken custody of hundreds of them.
“In this case, I see the right time and the right mechanism to be put in place to ensure that this process is commenced,” he said.
Buratai disclosed that disarmament in this context would require heightened military activities to be able to forcefully disarm the terrorists.
“We are already at the process of demobilisation with the Operation Safe Corridor ongoing in Gombe state as well as the initiative by the Borno state government to reintegrate them with their family members.
“The issue of reintegration is quite fundamental because there is the issue of whether the society will accept them back because many of them have even killed their own parents.
”This is where all sectors must come in,” he said.
The Chairman, Board of North East Development Commission (NEDC), retired Maj.-Gen. Paul Tarfa, said the counter-insurgency operation in the northeast has reached a point where peacebuilding must begin.
Tarfa said the establishment of the NEDC would ensure synergy on the coordination of activities to achieve peace in the region.
He assured all the development partners that the commission was committed to working with well-meaning organisations to rebuild the northeast.
Former Chief of Army Staff, Retired Lt.-Gen Martin-Luther Agwai, said that disarmament was critical to ceasefire agreement in any crisis situation.
Agwai said that there must be coordinated disarmament by the military, the police and all other agencies of the government which must be civilian-led.