There should be no pity but a full-scale trial for ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members, the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has said, while warning the Federal Government against accepting the surrender overture of terrorists. The Northern socio-cultural group maintained that if the deadly Boko Haram members would be set free, then it behooves the government to free all those in custody in any part of the country for one crime or another.
The National Chairman of ACF, Audu Ogbeh, told newsmen in Kaduna, that the terrorists, who got a slap on the wrist, were bomb makers, commanders, arsonists, rapists, and kidnappers.
“Do we have any reason to cheer and believe that the war is over? Saying is ‘I am sorry is not enough to bring relief to thousands of Nigerians or even those killed.
“We are currently witnessing the large-scale surrender of a large number of Boko Haram insurgents, among whom are bomb makers, commanders, arsonists, rapists, and child snatchers. Do we have good reason to cheer and hope for an end to this decade-old insanity?” Ogbeh said.
ACF was also concerned about those bombed in the churches, mosques, schools, and markets, as well as the men and women in uniform, murdered.
It stated: “Who can count the thousands of widows and orphans they have created? What is the difference between them and the Ighohos or ESN of Nigeria? None.
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“So what do we do with them? Should we just embrace them and trust them wholesale? Are their moves informed by altruistic repentance? We seriously doubt.”
The forum joined the governor of Borno State, the Shehu of Borno, and millions of Nigerians in pondering over the development and advised: “Bring them to trial, or free all others presently in custody anywhere.”
But a Muslim right group, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has called on the Federal Government and Nigerian Army to resettle repentant Boko Haram and even ISWAP terrorists.
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‘Our New Brothers’
MURIC in a statement on Thursday said the terrorists should be treated like lost brothers that are newly found.
It suggested they should be trained in vocations that can enable them cater for themselves and their families in future.
The group also called on Borno residents to accommodate and integrate the repentant terrorists.
It warned against stigmatizing them in any way.
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MURIC said wars are won in the minds of men, hence resettlement of remorseful insurgents would help win the real war.
“Nigeria’s North-East war zone has witnessed a dramatic change with Boko Haram insurgents and ISWAP fighters laying down their arms in their thousands. Consequently, the zone has been inundated with an unusually large number of ex-insurgents and former ISWAP fighters.
“This has created a humanitarian responsibility for the state government. Consequently, the state governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum, yesterday appealed to both the Federal Government (FG) and the Nigerian Army to assist the state in resettling the surrendering fighters.
“MURIC joins the hardworking Governor Zulum in appealing to both FG and the Nigerian Army to do everything possible in assisting the state government in resettling and reintegrating. A governor who spends most of the day with troops at the war front and most of the night walking around the city, visiting hospitals and teaching in classrooms to ensure that all sectors are working needs to be supported.
“We lay emphasis on the fact that peace-making is cheaper than fighting wars while meaningful development and growth can only occur in a peaceful environment. FG should therefore go all out in ensuring that its deradicalizing process is accompanied by stomach infrastructure and economic resettlement.
“Boko Haram insurgents and ISWAP fighters who are surrendering should be resettled and trained invocations that can enable them to cater for themselves and their families in future. Quick and meaningful resettlement will encourage the remaining insurgents and fighters to embrace peace.
“MURIC also appeals to the civilian population in Borno to manifest a spirit of accommodation and integration of remorseful insurgents and fighters. We warn against the stigmatization of any sort. Returning fighters should be treated like brothers newly found. What they need is our understanding, cooperation and kindness.
“As we round off, we remind both FG and the Nigerian Army that it is more important to win the war than to win the battle. Battles are won in trenches, but the war can only be won in the minds of men. Only a swift, effective and meaningful resettlement of remorseful Boko Haram insurgents and ISWAP fighters can win the real war, the statement read.