The Federal government has said 613 rehabilitated low-risk repentant terrorists will be transferred to their state governments for reintegration back into the society.
Newsonline reports that the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, made the disclosure during the fifth stakeholders’ meeting of Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC) on Thursday in Abuja.
General Lucky Irabor who was represented by the Chief of Defence Training and Operation, Maj.-Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, the CDS said the 613 clients are currently undergoing deradicalization and rehabilitation handled by the OPSC.
Irabor said the OPSC was established by President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2015 as a window for willing and repentant terrorists to lay down their arms and undergo a structured DRR programme.
He added that the scheme was a multi-agency and humanitarian operation utilizing the expertise of over 17 services, ministries, departments and agencies, supported by local and international organisations and friendly nations.
“It is also important to mention that upon graduation from the programme, each client will be provided some food and personal items, as well as start-up pack according to the trade learned during training to enable them set up small businesses and start a new life,” he said.
Irabor said with collaboration with local and traditional authorities, the ex-terrorists will be tracked and evaluated. He said all stakeholders must get actively involved in the process of ensuring the reintegration of the repentant ex-combatants.
“We are optimistic that working closely with local and traditional authorities, the states can deploy security apparatus at their disposal to effectively track and evaluate the re-integrated ex-combatants.
“I must emphasize that it is critical for all stakeholders involved in the reintegration processes in order to mitigate, or completely eliminate incidences of recidivism,” he said.
Irabor expressed satisfaction with the collaboration of the different units of the armed forces which have ensured continued and sustained operations against the terrorist groups. He said the collaboration between the Airforce and Army has led to the surrender of most of the combatants.
“These sustained operations continue to put pressure and confusion within the ranks of the adversary causing many to surrender to the armed forces.
“As at today, over 83,000 insurgents and their family members have surrendered, while those captured have been tried and convicted to various jail terms by the law courts.
“As we speak, many more captured combatants are being held in several correctional facilities and their trial is ongoing,” Irabor said.
The CDS said that the military has been adopting kinetic and non-kinetic methods to win the war against insurgency.
“I must emphasise that counterinsurgency operation is dynamic and requires a lot of ingenuity and proactive strategies to achieve success.
“One of such strategies adopted by the Federal Government is by extending an olive branch to low profile members of the insurgent groups who form the critical mass,” he said.
The Coordinator of OPSC, Maj.-Gen. Joseph Maina, said the programme had successfully processed 1,573 clients comprising 1,555 Nigerians and 18 foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad and Niger since its commencement in 2016.
Maina said that all the foreign clients were transferred to their respective countries for reintegration.
He said that the 613 clients were transferred to the DRR camp on Sept. 8, 2022 to commence training, adding that among them were five foreigners from Chad and Niger.
The OPSC coordinator disclosed that 19 of the clients have been transferred to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital Neurological Center for expert psychiatric management.
On the meeting, Maina said it was to work out modalities for the smooth transfer of the clients to their national and state authorities for reintegration after graduation in February.
“Specifically, at the end of this meeting, all stakeholders would be fully abreast with activities of OPSC and DRR programme in particular.
“The state authorities and the MDAs would know in specific terms, the roles they would play in the transfer as well as reintegration process of the clients.
“Identify and recommend in specific terms affordable resettlement package for the clients and assign responsibility to relevant MDAs to provide.
“Determine the mode of community sensitization, camp visitation and community service programmes to take and ratify the graduation date and initiate arrangements for the ceremony,” Independent reported.