Over 5000 insurgents surrender in 2021, 2022, says Chief of Defence Staff

Idahosa Moses | Benin City

THE Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, says no fewer than 51,828 Boko haram members surrendered to the Nigerian Government between July 2021 and May 2022.

He made the disclosure at the 7th Founders’ Day Ceremony of the Edo State University Uzairue, Etsako West Local Government Area of the State.

He said: “It is worth stating that from July 2021 to May 4, 2022, alone, no fewer than 51,828 Boko haram and their family members have surrendered,  out of which 13,360 are fighters.

A total of 1,543 repentant terrorists have so far graduated from Mallam Sidi camp between 2016 and 2022, while 1,935 have been released from the camp in Bulumkutu”.

Irabor while delivering a paper titled “National Defence Policy and the Transitional Justice Approach in the War Against Insurgency in Nigeria” said transitional justice plays a key role in the healing of wounds in any counter-insurgency.

The Chief of Defence Staff noted that though Nigeria has been faced with Boko Haram insurgency since 2019, the military according to him has recorded successes in the fight against the insurgency.

 He opined that the terrorists have been decimated and dislodged from their strongholds.

“I want to acknowledge that the military successes against Boko haram terrorists resulted in the mass surrendering of their fighters and families.

“The need to handle the social issues associated with the mass surrendering necessitated the employment of the Transitional Justice Approach by the establishment of Operation Safe Corridor in September 2015.

“The arrangement provides for the demobilisation,  deradicalisation, reorientation and vocational training of repentant and surrendered Boko haram fighters as well as their eventual reintegration back into the society”, he said

Gen Irabor, however, stated despite the modest successes recorded by operation safe corridor in the fight against crime, the programme still faced a lot of challenges. 

He listed some of the challenges to include the lack of specialised training experts and inadequate physical structure,  inadequate collaboration and coordination, absence of appropriate legislation on reintegration, low agency and international participation as well as an ineffective monitoring system.

 He however identified the way forward to include a train-the-trainers programme and establishment of special fund for Deradicalisation, Reintegration and Reorientation (DRR), establishment of a national commission for DRR, enacting of a DRR Act, building of strategic partnerships and adoption of a whole-of-society approach to monitoring. 

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Engr. Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor commended the state government for its support and for creating an enabling environment for the school to strive.

He said that the beauty of the university is not just in the architectural masterpiece, but in the content and facilities available for teaching and research.

Prof. Aluyor, informed that the annual founders’ day lecture over the years has shaped the outlook of the University, adding that students and parents look forward to the lecture where important issues on how Nigeria can be harnessed into a country of our collective dreams are delivered.

According to him, “Edo State University Uzairue since inception have been committed to pursuit of world class goals in teaching, learning and research which is why we are proud of our products”.

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