The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) says 602 repentant ex-terrorists have sworn to an oath of allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria after completing a deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration programme undertaken by the government’s ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ initiative in Gombe State.
The DHQ said the oath of allegiance was important to emphasize their loyalty, discipline and obedience to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It said the implication of the oath is that at the end of the programme if they commit any offence, the former terrorists stand to forfeit all privileges and will be liable for offence against the state.
This brings to 882 the number of repentant former Boko Haram militants so far trained at the programme since its inception.
The ex-insurgents took the oath before an 11-member quasi-judicial panel.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations Major General John Enenche, made this known at a media briefing in Abuja on military operations across the country in the past seven days.
Enenche said military operations across the country have continued to record tremendous successes with the killing of many terrorists, bandits, herdsmen and other criminals terrorizing the nation with their nefarious activities. He also said that the operations led to the arrest of seven pirates, destruction of 80,000 litres of AGO, 112, bags of rice, the rescue of five kidnapped persons and recovery of 1,428 livestock.
He assured Nigerians of the military’s resolve to securing the country, and advised the public to continue to provide timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the nearest military and other security agencies location for prompt action.
Enenche gave a break down of military operations conducted between July 9-16:
‘The Armed Forces of Nigeria has continued its major operations across the country with attendant successes. In this regard, our regular update is necessary to acquaint the general public on our progress.
‘In the North-West zone of the country, the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, General AG Olonisakin visited the Army Super Camp at Faskari in Katsina State to address the troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY. The CDS commended the gallant troops for their resilience and unwavering commitment. You may recall that the Chief of Army Staff flagged off Operation SAHEL SANITY to aggressively route out armed bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and other criminal elements from the zone. The Operation has continued to record significant successes against the criminal elements. This is in addition to the several air bombardments conducted by the Air component of Operation HADARIN DAJI within the week under review. The air bombardments led to the neutralization of several bandits and their Logistics bases in Kwuyanbana forest in Zamfara State.
‘Also, within the period, troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY rescued 5 kidnapped victims who were abducted in Isa and Sabon Birni LGAs of Sokoto State. The abductees were kidnapped in June 2020. Troops also arrested 5 members of Yan Sakai group as well as a gun fabricator along Maga-Kyabu-Tadurga village. Equally, troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY backed by the Air Component of Operation HADARIN DAJI neutralized 6 armed bandits in an encounter that took place on 14 July 2020 at Komani Hills within Rukudawa general area of Zamfara State. Arms and ammunition including 34 motorcycles were recovered.
‘Similarly, within the week a total of 714 rustled livestock comprising 302 rustled cows and 412 sheep were recovered in Zamfara State. These successes recorded within the period have brought about a renewed vigour and determination on the side of the gallant troops in tackling the security challenge in the North-West zone of the country.
‘In the North-East, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE (OPLD) recorded tremendous successes within the week under review. During the period, troops conducted several operations at various locations, which led to the neutralization of terrorists, destruction of their equipment and structures as well as recovery of various items. This is in addition to several air bombardments at different terrorist’s locations at the fringes of the Sambisa forest and Bulabulin in Damboa LGA of Borno State. Additionally, several BHT/ISWAP criminals and gun trucks were deleted.
‘Meanwhile, in Operation SAFE CORRIDOR, 602 repentant Boko Haram members swore Oath of Allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The ex-insurgents who have completed de-radicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration programme at Malam Sidi Camp took the Oath before an 11 member quasi-judicial panel. The reason behind the Oath of Allegiance is to emphasize their loyalty, discipline and obedience to the Federal Republic of Nigeria and thereby making a commitment. The implication is that, at the end of the programme, if they commit any offence, they stand to forfeit all privileges and will be liable for offence against the State.
‘It is heartwarming to state that Operation SAFE CORRIDOR has successfully coordinated the DRR programme for 882 ex Boko Haram members including the 280 earlier graduated. Thus, the message here is clear to others out there; surrender and be profiled accordingly for the DRR privilege.
‘In the North-Central zone, troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE conducted several clearance patrols and air operations at various locations within the zone which resulted in tremendous successes within the period under review.
‘Troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE neutralized 2 armed bandits who have been terrorizing innocent people of Chambe community in Logo LGA of Benue State. Following actionable Human Intelligence on the heinous activities of the armed herdsmen on 12 July 2020, the gallant troops tracked the bandits to a makeshift camp at the outskirt of Arufu village in the neighbouring Taraba State. After a gun duel, troops neutralized 2 of them while others fled in disarray with gunshot wounds. Arms and ammunition were recovered during the operation.
‘As part of Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) activities, Operations SAFE HAVEN and WHIRL STROKE carried out some projects in this regard. These include the provision of borehole to a Fulani community at Miyangu and construction of school in Pashu community of Plateau State. Equally, Operation WHIRL STROKE has drilled three new boreholes at Guma LGA of Benue State.
‘From the foregoing, peace is gradually returning to the troubled locations in the North-Central zone of the country, while the confidence of the local populace is being enhanced. Equally, farmers are gradually returning to their farms as a result of troops’ patrols in the hinterlands to deny armed herdsmen, rustlers and other criminals, freedom of action. In addition, the ongoing CIMIC activities is fostering the much desired Civil-Military Cooperation between troops and the local populace.
‘In the South-South zone of the country, the Land and Maritime components of Operation DELTA SAFE have recorded tremendous successes within the period under review. Troops of 3 battalion arrested 7 suspected sea pirates at Snake creek in Warri South-West LGA of Delta State. The suspects who claimed to be members of Ogje-Ijoh Coastal Watch were allegedly extorting money and other valuables from the locals within the creek. Items recovered from them are 2 double-barrel guns, one pump action gun, 12 live cartridges and 6 handsets.
‘Similarly, Nigerian Navy Ship JUBILEE discovered and destroyed a sea robbers camp containing 80,000 litres of illegally refined AGO at Otoyo in Eastern Obolo LGA of Akwa Ibom State. Relatedly, troops of 146 battalion and Forward Operating Base Bonny raided militants’ hideouts at Ijawkiri in Bonny LGA of Rivers State. During the raid, troops recovered a pistol loaded with 6 rounds of 9mm ammunition, 17 phones, one Walkie Talkie and speedboat mounted with a 75HP engine.
‘In another development, Operation CALM WATERS and Operation SWIFT RESPONSE (OSR) have continued to record remarkable successes. Within this period, 112 bags of 50 kg foreign parboiled rice were impounded. These operations were conducted with the combined teams of Operation SWIFT RESPONSE and Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) strike force. These operations are targeted at reducing the smuggling of contrabands into the country.
‘Overall, the Military High Command commends all the gallant troops of the Armed Forces and personnel of other security agencies involved in various operations across the country for their unwavering commitment and dexterity. Troops are further encouraged to remain resolute and decisive in curtailing the activities of the enemies of the country. The High Command, also reassures the general public of its commitment to securing the country. Members of the general public are, as always, enjoined to continue providing timely information on the activities of criminals in their various localities to the nearest military and other security agencies location for prompt action.’