By Suleiman Umaru
Ahead of the February 25, Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Nigerian Army, under the close watch of Farouk Yahaya, a Lt. General, appears to have concluded arrangement to hand over 613 rehabilitated Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, fighters to Borno and Yobe states government for resettlement.
Not many people are not happy over the Army plans to reintegrate the repentant terrorists who were said to have undergone ‘’de-radicalisation into the Nigerian society because of past experience where some of the ex-ex-terrorists who had renounced their membership of BokoHaram and ISWAP Groups still had contacts with their former Colleagues that they were given them clues of schedule of movement of Operation Hadin Kai , Troops.
The double edged ex-terrorists, for instance, who were said to have sneaked out from Bama, a fishing town, Government Girls Secondary School, in Borno state, where they were resettled , were said to have sneaked out of the Community to lead an attack against the Operation Hadin Kai, Troops but were dealt with some BokoHaram members in Daula , a market Community located in the outskirts of Goniri village.
Recall that , Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, during Olusegun Obasanjo’s A dministration and now governor of Kaduna state and Christopher Musa, a Major General and the Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, were said to have at different times in the past expressed doubt over the sincerity of the ex-terrorists to be reintegrated into the society but that was how far they could go.
Timothy Avele, a security Expert, reported by Punch Newspapers in an Interview on Friday , January 7, 2023, had made the security agencies operatives to understand that terrorists, whether repented or those still actively engaged in terrorism operations cannot’’ be trusted because they are killers’’.
He was said to have made it clear to the Nigerian government that it is wrong’’ to release the so-called ex-terrorists into the Borno and Yobe societies, when the war is still raging on in the two states. His worries was that ‘’there is no way the government or Lt. General Yahaya, led Nigerian Army could be sure of their loyalty to the country instead of their former Terrorists Commanders who are still in the battlefield?. Avele had made it that the ex-terrorist could easily sneak out to do the biddings of their previous Commanders because there is no one on ground to monitor their movement.
The security was said to have repeatedly said , ‘’neither the government nor the Army can truly monitor these ex-terrorists’’, noting that the country do not have the technology like the North American country of the United States , US, or United Kingdom, UK, to do so currently.
Aware that there is no guarantees that the ex-terrorists would be good citizens, no matter their deradicailisation in their various resettlement camps, Sani Usman, a retired Brigadier General, would want the government ‘’ to develop a unique modality for dealing with issues of the repentant terrorists to avoid a repeat of past experience.
But many believe that the Nigerian government appears to be in a hurry to reintegrate the ex-terrorists into the Borno and Yobe societies, particular, because of the upcoming 2023, general elections to win the support of the people.
Anthony Atolagbe, a retired Major General and former Commander of Operation Safe Haven had said that with the deployment of technology to help in providing security in Nigeria during the elections, it would be very difficult for the ex-terrorists who may have the mindset to disrupt the elections to do so without being apprehended , by the security agencies personnel.
Indeed, the high level of insecurity in several parts of the country, has kept Nigerians wondering ‘’if the Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, led, Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC,with all the Presidential backings and provision of adequate security personnel on to provide security would be able ‘’to conduct a fair, safe and credible elections in these flash point areas’’.
Given that the anti-terrorism war is still ongoing in the north eastern states of Boorno, Yobe and the north western states of Zamfara, Sokoto, Kaduna and Katsina, home state of the Katsina state of Buhari ,including the north central state of Niger, and several other parts of Nigeria, may have informed why Lt. Gen. Yahaya, the Chief of Army Staff, CoAS, had told those seeking recruitment into the Army ‘’not to see it as an employment opportunity but a call to defend ’’ the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Nigeria’’.He was said to have also described it as ‘’a call to national service, as it requires selflessness and if need be, the supreme sacrifice’’.
It was not surprising why he had said that ’’it not anal l comers affair but for people who are not only physically and medically fit’’ ,but also ‘’mentally and emotional stable to handle weapons in the battlefield’’.