‘Embrace Education And Be Peace Ambassadors In Your Communities’ – NUJ Chairman Counsels Surrendered Boko Haram
By Abdulkareem Haruna
Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Borno state Council, Comrade Dauda Iliya, has urged surrendered Boko Haram terrorists to eschew good values as they are set to reintegrate into their original communities.
Comrade Iliya was one of the voluntary advisors that spoke to hundreds of surrendered Boko Haram insurgents at their camps in Maiduguri on Tuesday.
The officials of the state government who are managing the camps for the repentant insurgents have outlined a 14 days workshop for the former non-state actors during which they would be given reorientation lessons on various topics that pertain every shade of communal peace and harmony.
The NUJ council chairman called on the repentant nonstate actors to seek both religious and western education for their personal and spiritual improvement even as he called them to be worthy ambassadors and promoters of peace in their community.
The versatile Unionist and veteran journalist delivered a 13 minutes articulated lecture in Hausa even as he seamlessly infused apt verses of the Holy Quran to buttress his points.
“Indulge yourselves in the learning of the Holy Quran, the Hadith, and seek understanding of the Fiqh, Tauheed for clarity of knowledge to better your lives. Let’s not relent in backing your learning with western education which is equally important. Don’t forget to acquire skills for trades and entrepreneurship.
“The essence of acquiring knowledge is to differentiate you from others because the educated one stands one in his speech, ways of doing things, and thinking.
“As you go back to your communities, ensure you are worthy ambassadors whose attitude and behavior can be commended. Don’t give anyone reason to say had we known we would not welcome you into the community. Let your actions be seen as reference points for a good child upbringing who is concerned about his worship, dedicated to his business, and maintaining good neighborliness.
“As I’ve said earlier, you are not objects of stigmatization; no reasonable person should see you as persons to be stigmatized or ridiculed. But only your good behavior would guarantee your acceptance.
“Most of you have seen and experienced the effect of violence and conflict. Many of you have spent years away from your homes and businesses and that has caused you enormous setbacks. So you still have a second chance of making up for the lost years as you go back to start afresh.”
The NUJ chairman said the repentant insurgents stand a better chance of winning the peace if they uphold their new roles as ambassadors of peace in their community.
“You have seen it all, and the younger ones will prefer to hear your voices each time you speak for peace and harmonious living; please don’t relent,” he implored them.
He reminded the repentant lots about the role of the media in peace-building and post-conflict reconciliation.
“The media has played significant roles in the peace that we are enjoying today in Borno state, and journalists are yet tired to disseminate positive narratives in the post-conflict efforts,” he said.
He said any of the repentant nonstate actors who would want to explore the media positively for peace-building would be welcomed by the media houses that are in the state.
“The media space is large and dynamic; the time is coming when even more advanced technologies would be introduced for our use as media practitioners and you as media content users or creators. Always ensure you deploy your mobile devices to positive use and in a way that will benefit society. We cannot achieve this if we are not visionary; if we are not knowledge seekers; and if we are not creative boundary breakers.