The Nigerian Defence Headquarters has inaugurated a committee to plan an amnesty for Boko Haram terrorists as ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Quoting the Acting Director Defence Information,
“Boko Haram members pencilled for reintegration are those forcefully conscripted into the group and those who have already surrendered and given up their membership of the sect and those willing to renounce their membership.”
We understand that considering the thousands of Boko Haram terrorists with many forcefully conscripted and the lack of available detention facilities for them, an amnesty of sorts is unavoidable and urgent for those forcefully conscripted. A recent Boko Haram Sambisa Eid video we published showed as many as 1-2,000 terrorists, with women and children of all ages including abductees and slaves assembled in one spot. They are many.
Indeed this June, ENDS published a document detailing such conditional amnesty which must not contain reward and must only be carefully accorded to forcefully conscripted and repentant terrorists who have no blood on their hands and have never raped; as was issued by the Algerian government during the 90’s similar “Black decade” of terror in the nation.
However in spite of this reality, recognizing the shared dangers of cohabiting with reintegrated terrorists, and realizing the risks the masses are most prone to, intelligent Nigerians are anxious about what kind of amnesty should be offered the world’s deadliest terror group. What deradicalization plan can suffice?
What should be an adequate duration of the deradicalization and reintegration process? How will the repentant and allegedly forced conscripts’ stories to be verified…are Civilian-JTF who are better familiar with the indigenes going to be involved in this sensitive screening process?
Recognizing that a presidential amnesty directive borders on Nigeria’s anti-terrorism laws, we believe the government understands the need to properly address these and other matters raised. Additionally, learning from the blunders of the Yar’Adua amnesty to Niger Delta militant-terrorists, the nation must be fully consulted and collectively committed to such process.
Already the army has confessed to have “deradicalized” 200 Boko Haram terrorists “since 2014.” We want to know what kind of terrorists were these who are now back into our society? We do hope they are not ones who have murdered or raped as this will be a violation of our rights and an issue we will seriously protest.
We strongly insist that terrorists who have killed or participated in killing and who have raped must never be pardoned under any conditions whatsoever. This is unconstitutional and sinful. They must face swift capital sentences with the Shariah decapitation option open to those of them who so choose.
Inasmuch as the current administration with the army chief and NSA from the most plagued State, are anxious for the Boko Haram terror saga to just go away and for the people to return to functional lives and their children, brothers and sisters, cousins and parents to be restored/reintegrated, we insist that certain processes must not be rushed and deadly missteps must be avoided at all cost… as allegedly caused the recent deadly bombing at an IDP camp in Yola last September, against the better advice of the citizenry.
Boko Haram are some of the most cunning and ruthless, sophisticated and evil terrorists in human history. Their plans have been long-term including deliberately impregnating women towards raising generations of terrorists. They are smart and they are patient in their planing. Indeed some say they have been the most efficiently functioning part of Nigeria through the 16 tortuous past years.
The oaths these terrorists administer are sacrosanct. We have viewed videos of these terrorists walking to be slaughtered confidently rather than divulging secrets or cowering in fear. Any error by this government will have deadly repercussions and must not be made at all costs. The head of this monster with its sponsors must be killed and all killers and rapists must be likewise in accordance to the law. We advice caution and broad consultation. There is no easy solution to Boko Haram and there should not be an irrational urgency to create one.
Importantly, the value of respecting and properly informing and working with the Nigerian citizenry, sociological, religious and psychological experts cannot be overemphasized. Intelligent Nigerians and Boko Haram victims must be consulted.