Ali Ndume, Chairman of the Nigerian Senate Committee on the Army, has asked that repentant Boko Haram insurgents be reconciled with victims of insurgency before they are allowed to live freely in the society.
Ndume said this on Thursday while speaking with AriseTv on the ongoing amnesty programme for at least 1,000 Boko Haram/Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) militants reported to have recently surrendered to the Nigerian Army.
“It’s a welcome development but must be treated with extreme caution,” he said.
“It’s normal in a situation like this that the perpetrators are given a window to surrender but that is not to say the government will just accept and pamper them more than even the victims that are scattered all over the country and in different camps.”
He also said that the military intelligence team must thoroughly investigate the antecedents of the criminals before they are granted amnesty.
“Another important thing is for the government to start thinking of reconciling the victims with those that perpetrated those crimes.
“It is not acceptable that if, for instance, someone kills your father and you know he killed but the government takes him in and gives him start-up capital to come back to your society and start his life because he surrendered.
“I object to blanket amnesty, the same way I object to blanketly criminalizing those insurgents that have surrendered.
“But some of them were forcefully conscripted into Boko Haram because they had been confused by the preaching or the misinterpretation of the philosophy they are pursuing in the name of religion.”
About 600 ex-Boko Haram members were rehabilitated and reintegrated in July 2020, against the will of many residents of Borno State, where the insurgents have struck the most for more than a decade.
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