…Wants them punished like other criminals
By Kingsley Omonobi – Abuja
Widows of slain military officers and soldiers particularly those fighting the war against terrorism have protested the continuous release of murderous Boko Haram terrorists on the grounds that they have repented.
National Vice President of Military Widows Association, Mrs Edith Opesanmi who spoke on their behalf during the seminar by the ‘Support Our Troops Foundation’ in Abuja, faulted the decision of the federal government in releasing the so-called repentant criminals who are responsible for the death of so many gallant officers and soldiers as well as helpless innocent Nigerians.
Opesanmi said this during an interview with The on the sidelines of the maiden lecture of Support Our Troops Foundation in Abuja on Wednesday.
Emphasizing that the terrorists were not better than other criminals like armed robbers and kidnappers who are being made to pay for their crimes, Opesanmi who is the widow of the late Col. Johnson Opesanmi, said terrorists should not be given preferential treatment.
Her words, “They (terrorists) should face justice. You know they are involved in the killing and maiming of soldiers. So, whenever they are arrested, they should be punished like any other criminal.
“We widows feel bad about it. Our husbands go to fight these terrorists and keep dying. The number of widows is increasing daily. Some of these widows are young ladies.
Admitting that the Federal Government may be trying to replicate the amnesty programme of the Niger Delta militants, she said both situations were not the same noting that after all, the amnesty programme did not stop militancy.
In his contribution, a former Director at the Department of State Services, Barr. Mike Ejiofor disagreed with the timing of the release of so-called repentant terrorists especially when the war on terror is still ongoing.
“For me, the programme is not well-timed. You cannot be releasing Boko Haram suspects when the war is still ongoing.
“Ideally, it is after the war has been fought and won that you can release those ones that have been rehabilitated and deradicalized,” he said.
It will be recalled that more than 2,000 so-called repentant Boko Haram terrorists who murdered, raped, publicly executed both Muslims and Christians, castrated soldiers, burnt military locations and carried out suicide bombings in places of worship have been released back into the society through a programme, Operation Safe Corridor.
There is a general belief that most of the insecurity being peddled in different parts of the country including kidnapping, banditry, cattle rustling and other robbery activities may be perpetrated by some of the so-called repentant Boko Haram criminals.