’’ Granting Amnesty To The Insurgents Would Breed New Forms Of Criminality In The Country’’ .- Ndume
By Suleiman Umaru
Ali Ndume, a Senator of Federal Republic of Nigeria, is not a happy man. Ndume’s source of unhappiness is the speed at which The Nigerian Government at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari a retired Army General rush to grant blanket amnesty to repentant Insurgents in the north east geopolitical region, particular, Borno, state, when there is no sign of the insurgency war in the region coming to an end soon.
Appearing on Channels Television, on Sunday, August 8, 2021, an aggrieved Ndume, who is the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Army had told Nigerians that the ‘’blanket amnesty granted to the repentant Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of the West African Province, ISWAP, fighters who had surrendered their guns to the Nigerian military on the ground that they are not fighting again may not be the solution to ending the insurgency in the north east. He fears that another form of Criminality would emerge in region with the hope that the Katsina state born Nigerian President would’ bring them to the Negotiating table’’.
The Borno state born politician , who could not hide his feelings had warned that ‘’the government must strive to get to the root of the crisis to ascertain that the true cause of the insurgency in the region’’. The Senator, representing Borno south, in the Ahmad Lawan led Senate may have been forced to speak out his mind when Onyema Nwachukwu, a Brigadier General and Director, Army Public Relations officer, disclosed on Saturday, August 8, 2021, that more BokoHaram and ISWAP insurgents have surrendered their guns to embrace the government Blanket amnesty and are now ‘’ asking Nigerians for forgiveness’’.
Although, there appears to be celebration in military circles over the surrender of the BokoHaram and ISWAP fghters, particular, Musa Adamu, kknown in the insurgent circles as Mala Musa Abuja, and Usman Adamu, popular, Abu Darda . This is because the duo, were key to the manufacture and explosion of Improvised Explosive Devices, IED, in the war- thorn states in in the north east geo-politicalregion.
The Army Pulic Relations offier had said that Adamu, was the Chief Bomb expert of the Late Abubakar Shekau’s led BokoHaram Group while Darda, was the Deputy Chief Bomber expert of the Group, meaning that the BokoHaram Group, has been weakened in their attacks with the surrendering of the duo to the Nigerian Army they have tormented over the years to continue to detonate Bombs which is their major strength.
The two Principal bomb expert of BokoHram were said to have surrendered along with 335 of their followers, involved in detonating Bombs, 746 adult women and children and one of the abducted Chibok girls in 2014, who had become a member of the Group. They were said to have surrendered to the troops in Bama Local Government Area of Borno state .
AN elated Army spokesperson had said disclosed that Abdulwahab Adelokum Eyitayo, a Brigadier General and Genearal Officer Coomanding , GOC, 7 Division of the Nigerian Army in Maiduguri, the Borno state Capital and the Commander ,Sector 1 of Operations HADIN KAI, OPHK brigade, were present at the Headquarters of 21 Special Armoured Brigade in Bama to receive the repentant Insurgents amidst tight security, within and around the Bama Army Headquarters to avoid given room to those who are aggrieved over the surrender of the BokoHaram Bomb experts to strike .
Indeed, with the escalation of the insurgency in the north east states of Borno and Yobe, particular, the Nigerian Army, under the close watch of Farouk Yahaya, a Lt. General and Isiaka Oladayo Amao, an Air Marshall and Chief of Nigerian Air Force Staff, have told those that cares to listen the surrender of the BokohARAM and ISWAP , fighters would encourage them ‘’to intensify its kinetic and non- kinetic approach towards the ongoing fight against insurgency in the north east’’.
Recall that THAT Brig. General Nwachukwu, the Army Director of Public Relations had said that the military would ‘’leverage on the knowledge of the BokoHaram Bomb experts to achieve both short and long-term counter insurgency gains in the region’’.
This may have informed whyBrigadier Geneal Eyitayo, who was said to have received the repentant BokoHaram members, had that said ‘’they will undergo some level of rehabilitation at a government facility before their integration into the larger society’’. The repentant placard carrying Boko Haram and ISWAP members, who had had condemned terrorism in its entirety enthusiasm may have been dampened as they had expected to be integrated immediately into the society to rejoin their family members whom they have left for long.
Their optimism was informed the large crowd that trooped out to welcome them when information filtered out about their surrendering at the Bama Army Headquarters and the new clothes, food items, groceries and toiletries , donated by people which were distributed to make them feel at home.
Th Army GOC, may have used the opportunity to appeal to the surrendered Insurgents from both the Camp of BokoHaram and ISWAP, to encourage their brothers and Colleagues still at the Sambisa Forest and the Lake Chad region respectively ,’’to come out and embrace the new life of peace and rehabilitation’’. He may have spoken the mind of Lt.Gen, yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff, CoAS.
Many believe that the BokoHaram and ISWAP, insurgents may have decided to drop their gun to embrace peace as they could no longer stand the military renewed attacks coupled with ‘’ the kinetic and non-kinetic efforts of the Operation HADIN KAI, OPHK, in the recent time’’.
Given the matching order to the military Chiefs by the Katsina state born Nigerian President to end the insurgency in the north east, may have forced Lt. General Yahaya, COA,to give his words ‘’ to take the Battle to the insurgency enclaves in the Forest’’. The Army General may have been encouraged to charge his officers in the OPHK and other military Formations, visited in Borno state, recently , to do so with the delivery of six super Tucano, A -29, fighters, out of the twelve , which Godwin Emefele, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had said was procured , with the assistance of the US Department of Defence from Sierra Nevada the sum of $495 million. The insurgents, according according to security experts may have known that the game is up and there may not be any hiding place for them in the forest any longer and thus, have no option but to come out and embrace peace before it is too late.
However, Senator Ndume, who has never hidden his opposition against granting blanket amnesty to the insurgents by the Nigerian government is not amused with the plans ‘’to rehabilitate and reintegrate the repented insurgents back into the society, insisting that it is too early.
He noted that inn 2018, the Nigerian military had released 1,400 repented BokHaram fighters who were rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society, and trained on Vocational skills to be able stand on their own without going about search of jobs that they may never get.
Note that instead of the insurgency war in the region fizzling out with the Army release of the 1,400, BokoHaram and ISWAP, fighters, but , it escalated as there were more attacks on military Baracks in orno and Yobe states, fueling speculations making the rounds that those who have who been reintegrated into the society may have become informant to their Colleagues in the Forest still carrying gun.
It is not surprising why Nigerians, including the likes of Senator Ndume, fear, that the surrender of the two the two BokoHaram and ISWAP, Bomb experts and their 335 followers would not make the difference but worsen the crisis in the region. ‘’ anyone who has lived in the Forest and tested terrorism, that blood of being a killer would always be with him’’, An Iranian security expert had said.
This is where the government would have to thread with caution releasing these repentant Insurgents into the society without trating them as Criminals who should be tried to avoid making a mockery of the February 18, 2023, general elections.