Nigerian government begins training of repentant insurgents

Edwin Akwueh, Abuja

The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Sani Sidi on Monday revealed that more than 800 repentant members of the boko haram terrorist group were undergoing vocational skills training under the supervision of the office of the Chief of Defence Staff.

Alhaji Sidi who made this disclosure while speaking at the opening of a two day Public Hearing on a bill to establish the North East Development Commission (NEDC), said the repentant boko Haram insurgents have been registered in a programme tagged, “Safe Corridor initiative”.

He said the programme was conceived to provide a leeway for repentant members of the sect to turn a new leaf. “It is not correct that the Federal government does not have a plan for repentant sect members. The Federal government has set up the safe corridor programme. I do know that over 800 sect members have been registered in it,” he said.

According to Alhaji Sidi, “They have exited the boko haram through the programme in line with the International best practice. They are currently receiving various skills acquisitions programme, which is being handled by the military. It’s being handled by the Chief of Defence Staff.”

The NEMA DG said the restoration of the formal education, sustainable agriculture, paternalism, infrastructural reconstruction, environmental protection and remediation should constitute the key focal areas of the North East Development Commission.

In his submission, Engineer Kaka Kyari Gujbawu stressed the need for the engagement of civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) in government establishment.

Declaring open the public hearing, the Senate President Bukola Saraki regretted that, for 7 years, the people of North East have suffered untold destruction of both private and public properties worth billions of Naira.

“The North East has endured unprecedented pervasive brutality, satanic barbarism meted out against them; Christians and Muslims alike, young and old, men and women by the activities of boko haram.

“In an orgy of un-abating and indiscriminate attacks on the Nigerian state and its circularity, they employed everything destructive to threaten our national security and socio-economic stability; maiming, bombing, attacking every institution that would help us remain a virile and united nation.

“What we have witnessed in the North East demands special attention from all well meaning Nigerians, not just from government. We must all rise up and say never again. We have seen families wiped out, children orphaned, incomes plunged below a tenth of what they were a decade ago.”

In his address, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Special Duties, Senator Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako said the commission would provide the legal framework for addressing the challenges in the North East occasioned by the insurgency.