Senate rejects rehabilitation of repentant Boko Haram members

The Senate, on Wednesday, stressed its opposition to the granting of amnesty to acclaimed repentant Boko Haram insurgents, saying some of them masterminded recent attack in Damboa, Borno State in which several persons, including an army General was killed.

Members of the Committee on Army, who briefed newsmen shortly after the budget defence, also called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to expedite action on the prosecution of sponsors of Islamic terrorists’ activities in the country.

This is coming few days after six Nigerians were jailed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for sponsoring insurgency.

Speaking on behalf of the committee, its chairman, Mohammed Ali Ndume, said the UAE did a good job by jailing those sponsoring Boko Haram.

He, however, disagreed with the idea of deradicalisation and reintegration by the Federal Government of purported Boko Haram members who have repented.

“The position of the executive is different. I still maintain that position. You can’t be pampering people while their victims are still there. In my own village, malams, elders that are 65 to 70 years, more than 75 of them were taken to an abattoir and slaughtered by Boko Haram.

“Can you imagine that the Nigeria Army and the Nigerian Government are saying that it’s because these people have gone to repent and you are bringing them back and you pamper them?

“I have 10,000 of them there. If you give each of them N50,000, they will go back home tomorrow. They are displaced, they are suffering. They know these Boko Haram and their parents.

“The recent attack in Damboa was carried out by a repentant Boko Haram giving information as in the movement of the army. The General that was killed was a victim.

“They can be kept as prisoners of war. After that, you profile them and charge those that are supposed to be charged to court and those that are victims of Boko Haram that were forcefully conscripted should be released.”

The six Nigerians were initially tried and convicted last year in UAE ollowing their arrest in 2017. The court sentenced Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu to life in prison. Ibrahim Ali Alhassan,  AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa were each given a ten-year sentence.

Since the administration of President Buhari came on board, no known sponsor of the terrorist group has been jailed. However, many key terrorists are currently undergoing trial, while others have been granted amnesty.

The Senate said prosecuting sponsors of Boko Haram would  show that government was serious about ending the insurgency war.

“We are very grateful to the government of UAE and we are still appealing to our government to bring those directly or indirectly involved in Boko Haram activities to book immediately. I think so far, they have not been up and doing on that,” he said.

He said the army should be adequately funded to continue the war against Boko Haram insurgency that has depleted its equipment and platforms.

He said the army, which could boast of 22 M-Rack platforms donated by international partners against the insurgent cannot account for more than five M-Rack platforms because the military platforms, for engaging the insurgents, had been destroyed by mines during some encounters.

He said Federal Government must, as a matter of national security, provide the Army with more funding for its budget which the committee considers insignificant to the security challenges at hand.

The Army had presented a budget of N509.66bn with a Capital budget proposal of N27.87 billion, N20.634 billion for overhead while N460.958 billion is proposed for personnel. – The Sun.

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