By Henry Umoru
THE Senate has begun moves to establish a National Agency that would be saddled with among others, the responsibility of educating, rehabilitating, de- radicalization and integration of ex- Boko Haram insurgents.
The Bill titled, ” National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De- radicalization and Integration of repentant Insurgents in Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2020 (SB.340) was read the first time yesterday at Senate plenary.
The Bill is sponsored by former Governor of Yobe State, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, All Progressives Congress, APC, Yobe East.
If the Bill succeeds, it will then put in place a legal framework that would have Amnesty for Boko Haram insurgents that have engaged in massive killings and wanton destruction of property especially in the North East geo- political zone of the country.
According to the Sponsor, the Bill is aimed at providing avenue for rehabilitating, de-radicalizing, educating and reintegrating the defectors, repentant and detained members of the insurgent group Boko Haram to make the useful members of the society.
Senator Gaidam said that the Agency will also provide avenue for reconciliation and promote national security.
The agency is also aimed at providing an-open-door and encouragement for other members of the group who are still engaged in the insurgency to abandon the group especially in the face of the military pressure.
The agency will also give the government an opportunity to derive insider-information about the insurgence group for greater understanding of the group and its inner workings.
According to the Bill, gaining greater understanding of the insurgents will enable government to address the immediate concerns of violence and study the needs of de-radicalization effort to improve the process of de-radicalization.
The Senator said that it will help disintegrate the violent and poisonous ideology that the group spreads as the program will enable some convicted or suspected terrorists to express remorse over their actions, repent and recant their Violent ideology and re-enter mainstream politics, religion and society.
According to the Bill, when passed, the agency would provide recreational sports and fine arts programs, adding, “Also, through maintaining open lines of communication, the agency will be able to gain a greater understanding of both the immediate needs for combating Boko Hararn as well as tool for counter-radicalization in the future.”
On Vocational Rehabilitation, Senator Gaidam said, “Vocational rehabilitation gives the detainees Opportunities to learn carpentry, clay shaping, pottery and the like. In addition, they will make use of art through drawings, guided by professional art therapists in their art rehabilitation.
The bill is coming amidst protest against the reintegration of members of the Boko Haram sect back into the society.
Recall that the Military was recently reported to have trained and rehabilitated over 1,000 insurgents in one of its centres in Gombe State.
The report claimed that the Military had gone ahead to release the “Repentant” insurgents after three years of vocational training.
Also recall that Borno State government recently revealed that the military had released 1,400 repentant Boko Haram suspects.