Another batch of 606 former Boko Haram fighters is to be reunited with their families after undergoing rehabilitation under Federal Government’s Operation Safe Corridor.
The Coordinator of the programme, Maj.-Gen. Bamidele Shafa, announced this at the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in Abuja at a stakeholders’ meeting.
The stakeholders met to work out modalities for transferring the rehabilitated former terrorists to their national and state government authorities for reintegration.
Shafa said 25 Nigerians, including 14 male adults, three female adults and eight children who voluntarily laid down their arms in Niger Republic, had been repatriated in February and were awaiting reintegration.
He said Operation Safe Corridor was established by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 to enable repentant Boko Haram fighters surrender and go through well-structured de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme.
“We are very careful in handling the clients; we do not compromise standards, as any client who exhibits any trait of disloyalty is withdrawn from the programme and transferred for further investigation and prosecution, when necessary.
“Also, the programme is open-ended; that is, when the handlers believe that a client has not been sufficiently de-radicalised, such a client is made to repeat the programme.
“Our purpose is to work out modalities for the smooth transfer of the 606 clients, presently in the camp, to their national and states’ authorities for re-integration,” Shafa said.
The Chairman of Operation Safe Corridor and Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, explained that over 1,000 high-profile Boko Haram and Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) had been captured and investigated.
Out the number, he said 500 had been convicted by courts of competent jurisdiction.
He said: “Since the establishment of Operation Safe Corridor, 2,000 low-profile Boko Haram terrorists/ISWAP members have laid down their arms, out of which about 1,000 have been processed by Operation Safe Corridor.
“Also, over 250 members, including two foreign nationals, have been successfully reintegrated by their national and state governments.
“The remaining 692 clients are currently undergoing the De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Programme at the De-radicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Camp in Gombe and Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Centre in Maiduguri.
“It is expected that more clients will be absorbed into the programme this year.”