Finally, leaders and critical stakeholders of Borno state had on Sunday met and agreed, after a long day of deliberation, to forgive and accept the reintegration of repentant Boko Haram in to the society.
The stakeholders, comprising politicians, security officials, religious and traditional leaders as well as members of the civil society, had however spelt out conditions that government must consider before re-integrating the repentant Boko Haram.
The Humanitarian Times had reported how mass of repentant Boko Haram insurgents had voluntarily given themselves up to the military following the death of their leader, Abubakar Shekau.
Governor Babagana Zulum who convened the meeting disclosed that a total of over 3900 repentant insurgents have so far surrendered within and outside the country.
He said over 3000 of the insurgents are presently with the Nigeria security forces and the Borno state government, while another 900 are currently in Cameroom, stressing that he had received a missive in respect of that from the Cameroonian government.
The meeting which lasted five hours and held at the Multipurpose Hall of Government House Maiduguri recognized the need to fully screen and profile the returnee insurgents before they are finally reintroduced into the society.
In attendance at the town hall meeting were members of the National assembly, state lawmakers, the military and other representatives of the security agencies, victims of the insurgency, religious leaders, the CSO, the Nigeria labor congress, the Nigeria Union of Journalists and Borno elders, all bared their concerns on the mass surrender of the ex-fighters of Boko Haram fighters.
A 16-point communique signed by the Borno state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Kaka-Shehu Lawan was read at the end of the meeting.
Below is the full Communique:
“Stakeholders appreciated the untiring efforts and supports of His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria towards ending the Boko Haram insurgency and other criminalities in Borno state and the country at large.
“The Stakeholder commend the zeal and determination of His Excellency, Prof., Babagana Umara Zulum, FNSE and the Executive governor of Borno state, towards restoration of lasting peace in the state. The meeting further noted the unparalleled support rendered to the IDPs and the vulnerable by His Excellency , the Executive Governor.
“The Stakeholders welcomed the efforts of the Federal and State Government in the provision of state of the earth equipment and other logistics to the security operatives that led to the renewed vigor in the fight against insurgents which resulted in the recent surrender.
“The meeting urged the federal and state government to “handle the issue of repentant Boko Haram insurgents with utmost care and within the instrumentality of the law.
“The meeting stressed the need for “proper profiling of the repentant Boko Haram insurgents to avoid hasty release of harden elements to the larger society.
“The meeting welcomed the recent massive surrender by the Boko Haram insurgents and urged those still in the bush to follow suit.
“The meeting strongly advocated for the strengthening of the deradicalization mechanism of the Operation Save Corridor to involve parents of the surrendered Boko Haram members, Ulamas, traditional/community leader and the media.
“The meeting urged citizen to key into the educational opportunities created by the state government especially by enrolling their children and wards to schools as a counter measure for indoctrination.
“The Stakeholders reiterated the need for further support to all victims of the insurgency especially the women and children.
“The meeting called on the Federal Government for the establishment of world-class deradicalization/rehabilitation center in Borno State being the epicenter of the insurgency.
“The meeting called for a true reconciliation amongst the affected people.
“The meeting appreciated the support of the Federal government to the state but however solicited for more funding from the Federal Government to the State especially in the areas of reconstruction, resettlement, reintegration, education and health as the meagre resources at the disposal of the State is not enough in view of magnitude of the cost involved.
“The meeting urged the military to sustain the ongoing offensive on the activities of ISWAP.
“The meeting resolved to have periodic press briefing on the ongoing activities of the surrendered Boko Haram terrorists with a view creating awareness amongst the members of the public.
“All firearms and offensive weapons used by the insurgents be retrieved from them.
“The meeting further resolved that the North East Development commission as a matter of priority be involved in all aspects of rehabilitation and integration of surrendered Boko Haram into the mainstream society.”
Details of the townhall meeting would be serially brought to readers in subsequent publication on The Humanitarian Times.