The Nigerian Army last week released a total of 152 former Boko Haram militants for reintegration back into the society after undergoing 12 months of de-radicalisation training in Gombe State.
The graduation ceremony of the ex-militants took place in Malam Sidi, Gombe on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, as they were reunited with their families.
The de-radicalisation programme is part of the military’s Operation Safe Corridor which was launched in 2016 to encourage terrorists to surrender amid the untold atrocity wreaked by the terror group in 10 years of insurgency in the northeast region.
While speaking on Wednesday, the Gombe Camp Commandant, Colonel Beyidi Martins, said the repentant militants were assessed by psychologists, social workers, and other psycho-social support experts who passed them fit to return to society.
During their de-radicalisation, the repentant militants were trained and equipped with vocational skills to make them more useful and self-reliant and keep them from falling back to their old ways.
He said Operation Safe Corridor is an effective non-combat approach to fighting Boko Haram as it frustrates its recruitment efforts.
“The Federal Government is using this programme to cut the abilities of the sect to recruit more members and also ensure defection into the programme by other insurgents.
“By the time this is achieved, the government will be able to reduce the number of free hands the sect recruits to fight it,” he told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
The Chief of Training and Operations of the Nigerian Army, Major-General Lamidi Adeosun, revealed in November 2018 that over 300 former terrorists have been reintegrated back into the society in the past two years.
“Over 2000 fighters have so far surrendered on this programme and out of which about 300 have undergone a comprehensive and complete rehabilitation.
“They’ve all been equipped and returned to their respective communities through their respective state governments,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari directed the establishment of Operation Safe Corridor at a National Security Council meeting in September 2015.