Soldiers fighting Boko Haram in Northeast Nigeria have reached out to the Northeast Development Commission (NEDC) for help concerning how to manage the increasing number of repentant Boko Haram that has so far reached 17,000.
Theatre Commander of Operation Hadin Kai, Chris Musa, has on Friday, November, 5 2021, paid an official visit to the headquarters of the NEDC in Maiduguri. Maiduguri, Northeast Nigeria where he met with the top management staff of the commission.
Musa, a Major General of the Nigeria Army, took over as the Theater Commander June this year, said it has become necessary for the military to think outside the box on how to manage the rising number of repentant insurgents.
General Musa said the NEDC, being the leading federal government intervention agency comes first as the military seeks more hands on the deck to manage the unprecedented case of mass surrender.
“We have over 17,000 surrendered Boko Haram members and the number keeps increasing by the day, so we solicit the kind support and intervention of the NEDC to help manage the situation,” the Theater Commander said.
The TC said while the figure has become worrisome he however clarified that some of the repentants fighters were conscripted not with their own free will; “some we’re like slaves who were forced to work on farms or as domestic helps”
“So far thousands have surrendered, the question is what next, and that is why we feel it is important we come here to see how we can work together.”
“The terrorists are willing to surrender but the government of Borno state alone cannot handle them.”
“We know the NEDC can intervene because we know you have the support of the federal government, and we desire to see that we have an inter-ministerial committee and together we will come together to see how we can holistically manage this surrender, especially of the combatants.”
“If we manage them well, more will come out and I assure you that we are going to give the peace that we all desire in good time.
“The ISWAP thought they were going to take over and use the Shekau group as their foot soldiers, but unfortunately for them, God did not allow that. God has made it possible for them to keep on surrendering and they are now panicking.”
“We have credible intelligence that ISWAP had set up task forces to ensure that the Shekau loyalists did not surrender.
“This is happening not by our efforts, it is God that is divinely intervening,” he said.
“If we have peace in the Northeast we know that it will transcend to other regions of Nigeria.”
The NEDC managing director, Goni Alkali, applauded the military for the good works they were doing, while restating the mandate of the Commission, which he noted was is purely around the issue of development.
“But we can’t have development without peace, hence the need to support the military who is in the forefront of the effort to regain its peace cannot be overemphasised,” he said.
“I am a bit disturbed by the large number of Boko Haram terrorists that are surrendering.
“The number 17,000 is more than the population in some of the IDP camps. But I was a bit relieved to know that there are different levels amongst the surrendering insurgents.
“Nobody had expected that there was going to be this kind of surrender. But as the Theater commander said there is a need to segregate the combatant from the non-combatant ones, get the data on the board and see how we can act upon it.”
“I’m sure the federal government has its plan to carry out at the end of the day, but during the interim period what do we do? That is why this kind of collaboration is important.”