The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Nigerian government has announced that it would hand over 613 rehabilitated “low-risk, repentant” terrorists to their state governments.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Lucky Irabor, made this known during the fifth stakeholders’ meeting of Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC), on Thursday in Abuja.
Irabor who was represented by the Chief of Defence Training and Operation, Maj Gen Adeyemi Yekini, said the 613 rehabilitated terrorists were currently undergoing deradicalisation and rehabilitation handled by the OPSC.
The military boss said that the meeting would exhaustively discuss the Deradicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) Programme ahead of the transfer of the rehabilitated clients to their state governments.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Irabor said the OPSC was established by President Muhammadu Buhari in September 2015 as a window for willing and repentant terrorists to lay down their arms and undergo a structured DRR programme.
The CDS also noted that the scheme was a multi-agency and humanitarian operation utilising the expertise of over 17 services, ministries, departments and agencies, supported by local and international organisations and friendly nations.
He said that “It is also important to mention that upon graduation from the programme, each client will be provided some food and personal items, as well as a start-up pack according to the trade learnt during training to enable them set up small businesses and start a new life.”
Irabor therefore recommended that the receiving state governments should provide necessary support to enable the ex-combatants wade through the transitional and most challenging phase of their lives.
“We are optimistic that working closely with local and traditional authorities, the states can deploy security apparatus at their disposal to effectively track and evaluate the re-integrated ex- combatants.
“I must emphasise that it is critical for all stakeholders involved in the reintegration processes in order to mitigate, or completely eliminate incidences of recidivism,” the CDS said.
He added, “These sustained operations continue to put pressure and confusion within the ranks of the adversary causing many to surrender to the armed forces.
“As at today, over 83,000 insurgents and their family members have surrendered, while those captured have been tried and convicted to various jail terms by the law courts.
“As we speak, many more captured combatants are being held in several correctional facilities and their trial is ongoing.”