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 Moves to set–up agency for repentant insurgents troubling, suspicious — CAN

“What is the guarantee that the freed ex-terrorists would not return to Sambisa forest and pick up their arms against innocent Nigerians?

PRESIDENT of the Christain Association of Nigeria (CAN) Samson Ayokunle on Thursday has expressed concerns over the move by the Senate to set-up an agency for repentant insurgents.

Ayokunle, represented by CAN vice -president, Caleb Ahima had disclosed this at a news conference in Abuja in remembrance of two-years captivity of Leah Sharibu.

“The setting free of so-called ex-Boko Haram terrorists under de-radicalisation, rehabilitation, empowerment of the arrested terrorists by the federal government is rather troubling and suspicious.

“What is the guarantee that the freed ex-terrorists would not return to Sambisa forest and pick up their arms against innocent Nigerians?

Earlier on Thursday, a bill titled “National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalization and Integration of repentant insurgents in Nigeria (Est, etc) Bill, 2020” was proposed by the Senate, aimed at exposing insurgents who want to change their ways to literacy classes, religious education, skills acquisition and psycho-therapists for the duration of the training.

The bill, initiated by Ibrahim Gaidam, Senator representing Yobe East senatorial district had scaled the first reading on the floor of the house.

In reaction, CAN said the development was “a shame” because the nation is clouded with confusion and its leaders are not “doing the right thing”.

On January 21, Ahmad Salkida, a Nigerian freelance journalist who is believed to have in-depth knowledge of the terrorist group — Boko Haram had called for the suspension of the rehabilitation and release of Boko Haram repentants.

He described the development as the most ill-informed strategy which should be suspended indefinitely.

In 2016, the Nigerian government had embarked on the De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) Programme code-named Operation Safe Corridor (OSC) as a way to disengage the Boko Haram fighters without the use of weapons or any form of violence.

But Salkida said the idea is taking away from the experience of the victims of the insurgency and focusing on the perpetrators of the violent acts who are later re-integrated into a society they have once victimized.

At the event in Abuja, CAN noted that the spate of insecurity and bloodshed had escalated under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration despite the activities of security operations in the country.

“We want the world to know the evil that is happening in the country under the watch of this government. More blood is being shed. The killing is religious. Boko Haram sect wants to establish an Islamic state. We must stop this killings,” CAN said.

The Christian association warned the federal government that the nation was getting to a point of anarchy while asking that all promise by its leadership be fulfilled. Part of which was setting Sharibu free from captivity.

“The president made this same promise as part of his campaign promise before the 2015 presidential election. When will he do it as he has promised repeatedly?

“The unsuccessful efforts to free the prisoner of faith by the federal government is highly disturbing, disappointing, depressing and unacceptable,” CAN stated.

Wednesday marked two years since Sharibu was abducted alongside other girls from Girls Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19, 2018, and at the event on Thursday, a church service and a march were held to mark the anniversary of her abduction.

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