Repentant Boko Haram Should Stop Flaunting Their ‘Strangely Acquired’ Wealth in Communities – Don

As PACHE hosts first its kind policy dialogue on the reintegration and reconstruction process in Borno

A university don, Dr Kawu Monguno, has called on authorities managing the repentant Boko Haram to advise the former terrorists who were forgiven and accepted into the society not to flaunt whatever ill-gotten wealth they may have acquired during their days of hostilities.

Dr Monguno who is a Director at the  Center for Disaster Risk Management and Conflict Resolution in the University of Maiduguri made this call during a stakeholders dialogue On reintegration of Repentant Boko Haram hosted by the Peace Ambassadors Center for Humanitarian Aid and Empowerment (PACHE).

PACHE had today held a stakeholders dialogue on current security challenges bedevilling Borno state especially as it regards the issues around the mass surrendering of Boko Haram fighters and their families and the imperatives of integrating them back into the society.

The dialogue session which had participants from the government, security, humanitarian, academia, civil society, traditional circle and the media, was organised with support from the British Council and the European Union.

Ahmed Shehu, the CEO of PACHE said the dialogue whose theme “reconstruction and rehabilitation as a means to enhancing sustainable peace and security in Borno state”, was aimed at fashioning out an all-inclusive and homegrown policy and practice change that will complement and support efforts of the state government and other stakeholders in ensuring effective, efficient and sustainable reconstruction and reintegration in Borno state.”

Presenting a lead paper during 8 hour long dialogue session, Dr Monguno delivered an eagle eye but in-depth analysis of the efforts being made by the government at the national and sub-national level to achieve a returned peace and equitable reconciliation and reintegration processes.

Dr Senior don of Geography disclosed that much as it is resolved that Boko Haram had caused untold hardship and irreversible pains on many people in Borno state, there are still hopes for forgiveness and reintegration of the aggressors.

Dr Monguno said a recent survey had indicated that 70 per cent of the women talks who were direct victims of Boko Haram and 65 per cent of men of the same category are ready to forgive and accept the repentant Boko Haram into their society.

He said for the war to end and post-conflict rebuilding to succeed, there had to be forgiveness and return to the original homes fled by the people.

He acknowledge however that some of the repentant Boko Haram too had to be cautioned against offending the sensibilities of those who willingly accepted them back to the communities by showing their questionable wealth or speaking proudly about their exploits in the Sambisa forests.

Cross-section of participants at the dialogue in Maiduguri

“The repentant Boko Haram must be cautioned against showing off their exploits while to comport themselves while in the communities and stop boasting about their past lives and also stop showing off their wealth that they suddenly acquired after their return.”

Dr Monguno suggested multi-stakeholder approaches to managing the situation in Borno even as he described peace as a process that takes time and patience to achieve.

The Senior Special Adviser to the government of Borno state on security matter, Abdullahi Ishaq, a retired brigadier general in the Nigerian army, who also delivered a paper detailing how the over 30,000 Boko Haram surrenders are being managed said the non-kinetic approach adopted by the Operation Hadin Kai of the Nigeria Military Command and Control Centre had played an immense role that led to the mass surrender.

He said Boko Haram is a group that is driven by ideology and they can only be subdued by superior ideological engagement.

He said though the kinetic aspect of the war had played it’s invaluable role, but the death of Shekau provided the opportunity for a greater engagement with the terrorists that eventually led to mass surrender.

General Ishaq said the repentant Boko Haram members would not harm anyone because they were not forced to repent. And over the months and weeks, they have so far been in the holding facility they have become aware of the fact they were deceived and lied to by their former masters.

There had been some level of doubts and apprehension amongst the members of the Borno communities over the issue of accepting the Boko Haram surrenders.

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