By Haruna Salami
The Senator representing Yobe East and former Governor of Yobe state, Ibrahim Gaidam has said he sponsored a bill to create an agency for repentant Boko Haram because “the concept of deradicalization, rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant insurgents are global best practice”.
Gaidam pointed out that countries including Britain, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Somalia, Pakistan, Syria and Iraq have formulated various models of deradicalization and rehabilitation programmes to combact the menace of radicalization with success.
It would be recalled that Gaidam at the plenary of the Nigerian Senate on Thursday last week sponsored “A bill for an Act to establish National Agency for the Education, Deradicalization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Repentant Insurgents which passed first reading. This was roundly criticised by many Nigerians as reward for terrorism.
He explained that Boko Haram is becoming increasingly aggressive since it’s inception in 2009, marked by extreme brutality and explicit targeting of civilians, resulting in continued infliction of massive casualty on citizens, particularly in North east Nigeria.
“It has become necessary for us to go to the drawing board and adopt an alternative approach, in addition to the military option,which has so far performed significantly well.
“There is no doubt that many members of the insurgents group have defected and many more are willing to repent, given a window of opportunity and this is confirmed by many organizations, including NGOs that have unalloyed access to Boko Haram.
In addition, he said “there is a the need for a more strategic and comprehensive approach to entice those members of the group who, after realizing the futility of the course they are pursuing, have eventually decided to voluntarily lay down their arms and chose the path of peace, hence the need for the establishment of the agency to accommodate the defectors”.
By Haruna Salami