The Governor of Borno State, Prof. Babagana Zulum says the ‘Safe Corridor’ concept of deradicalization of Boko Haram terrorists is not working as expected, Njenje Media News reports.
The governor said the repentant terrorists were being resented by their host communities after their rehabilitation and thus had returned to join their former terrorist colleagues.
Zulum made this known in his speech at the North-East Governors’ Forum meeting held at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Bauchi State, a forum that had present the governors of Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, and Bauchi, while Taraba and Yobe states were represented by their deputies.
In his words;
“Your Excellencies, another aspect of the war against the insurgency that needs to be urgently reviewed or modified, is the issue of deradicalization of Boko Haram terrorists, who have been captured or have willingly surrendered themselves to the authorities.
“It has been confirmed that the concept of deradicalization or Safe Corridor is not working as expected. Quite often, those who have passed through the Safe Corridor Initiative, or have been deradicalized, usually go back and rejoin the terror group after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process.
“In addition, the host communities where the reintegration process is going on usually resent the presence of Boko Haram terrorists, even if they have been de-radicalized, because of the despicable and atrocious activities they have committed in the past.
“So the idea of deradicalization, as currently being implemented, needs to be reviewed because the main goals and the underlying objectives behind the initiative are not being achieved,” the governor said.
Speaking further, Zulum said, “The best option is to immediately prosecute the terrorists, in accordance with the Terrorism Act. However, those people who, ab initio, were forcefully recruited but have been rescued or have escaped from the group, should be the ones to be subjected to the deradicalization process.
“On the prosecution of terrorists, we must make efforts to avoid the current encumbrances and intricacies associated with the process, which usually takes considerable time, by urging the appropriate federal authorities to devolve the powers of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation to State Attorneys-General in order to facilitate the prosecution process.
“At the moment, only the Attorney-General of the Federation is statutorily empowered to prosecute terrorists, which, quite often, results in avoidable delays. We once again call on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to delegate his prosecutorial fiat to the State Attorneys-General to prosecute such cases in their respective states as justice delayed is justice denied.”
Njenje Media News recalls that Nigerian military in 2016 had launched the ‘Operation Safe Corridor’, an initiative for the deradicalization and rehabilitation of ex-Boko Haram members.
The aim of the operation,according to the military , is to reintegrate ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members into society. More than 600 ex-Boko Haram members have already completed the program.