Ali Abare, Gombe
About 95 former Boko Haram fighters have been discharged, having completed their de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme under the Operation Safe Corridor, in Gombe State.
The former terrorists constitute the Batch 1 and 2 of the over 750 repentant Boko Haram group undergoing de-radicalisation and rehabilitation. They were presented with their discharge certificates in a ceremony at the DRR camp, in Gombe, on Thursday.
In a welcome address at the event, Coordinator, Operation SAFE CORRIDOR, Maj.-Gen. Bamidele Mathew Shafa, disclosed that the rehabilitated former Boko Haram members would be handed over to their respective state governments for resettlement and reintegration back into the society.
Gen. Shafa stated that already a stakeholders meeting was held at the instance of the Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) where modalities for their reintegration were set.
He added that as part of the meeting, visits were conducted to states were the former terrorists hailed from, namely Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, and Yobe, with a view to sensitising governments and traditional rulers on the need to resettle and reintegrate the repentant Boko Haram members.
In a remark, the Chief of Defense Staff, Geeral Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin said the rehabilitation programme was an initiative of President Muhammadu Buhari towards encouraging willing and repentant Boko Haram fighters to surrender and to go through a planned de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration to prepare them for return to the society.
Represented at the event by Chief, Department of Civil-military Cooperation at the Defense Headquarters, Rear Admiral Jonathan Ango, Gen. Olonisakin disclosed further that at the moment, 254 ex-Boko Haram members are undergoing the programme, out of which 95 have completed their mandatory 16-weeks engagement.
Reviewing the DRR programme for the graduating Ist and 2nd batch of the repentant Boko Haram members, Commandant, DRR Camp, Col. Adegoke Adetuyi, said OPSC is one of the multidimensional efforts of the Federal Government to restore lasting peace and security in the North East.
Col. Adetuyi added that the 95 clients being discharged were absorbed into the programme in July 2017.
He explained that they were engaged in a number of therapies and activities required for their de-radicalisation and rehabilitation, which included psychotherapy, psycho-spiritual counselling and drug abuse intervention, among others.
Governor Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, who was the special guest of honour at the event, expressed satisfaction that the ex-fighters willingly chooses to surrender and to return back to the society.
Governor Dankwambo also urged other Boko Haram members still in the bush to utilise the opportunity provided by the OPSC and to surrender their arms so that they can be rehabilitated and to return back to society.
He pledge an undisclosed sum of money as dowry to facilitate for those seeking to marry among the graduating clients.