From Magnus Eze, Abuja
Barely 24 hours after the army announced the end of its “Operation Python Dance 2 (Egwu Eke Abuo)” and withdrawal of its personnel from the South East, military authorities said they would commence deradicalisation programme for members of the recently proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to discourage secessionist narratives.
Director, Nigerian Army Civil-Military Affairs, Brigadier Gen. Solomon Kumapaye, who disclosed this in Abuja, yesterday, during a visit to the Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr. Garba Abari, said the deradicalisation and counter-narrative initiative of the Nigerian Army is yielding much result in the North-East. He said many repentant insurgents had surrendered for deradicalisation and re-integration into society.
While soliciting for NOA’s active involvement in the planned programme, Brig. Gen. Kumapaye explained that the directorate was created to drive the non-kinetic aspects of warfare and ensure the rights of civilians are respected in military operations.
To actualise the foregoing, he said the army has secured the toll-free Short Code: 193 with which the public can now reach it, using any mobile network. He promised prompt response on any issue, from complaints on the conduct of its personnel to emergency concerns.
In his remarks, the NOA’s DG assured that his agency will collaborate actively with the army to de-radicalise repentant insurgents in the North East and implement counter-narratives to discourage insurgency.
He said the NOA would provide the sensitisation and counter-narrative materials, especially in Borno and Gombe, through Operation Lafiya Dole and Safe Corridor of the army.
Abari, however, called for a two-pronged approach to deradicalisation and emphasised inputs from both the armed forces and the traditional and religious leaders as well.
He further applauded the army for establishing a civil rights desk, noting that Nigerian military is living up to expectations and transiting from existing stereotypes, in line with international best practices.