Senate Committee disagrees with Buhari on amnesty for repentant Boko Haram members
The committee says the amnesty programme is unhelpful to the war on terror.
The Senate Committee on Army has expressed disapproval with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government’s amnesty programme for repentant Boko Haram members.
Operation Safe Corridor, a multi-agency humanitarian effort led by Defence Headquarters, was launched in 2016 to encourage Boko Haram terrorists to surrender.
The programme is based on De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Re-Integration (DRR) of former members of the Islamic sect that has terrorised the northeast region for over 10 years.
Chairman of the Senate Committee, Ali Ndume (Borno South – APC), said on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 that the programme is unhelpful to the war on terror.
Addressing journalists after the 2021 budget defence session by representatives of the Army, Ndume, a long-time critic of the programme, said the Federal Government is not doing enough to make an example out of captured terrorists.
The lawmaker said anyone involved directly or indirectly in Boko Haram activities should be brought to book so as to deter others.
He said, “The executive position is different, but I still maintain that position.
“You can’t be resettling people and pampering them while the war is not over.
“The committee is on the same page and I believe many Nigerians are on the same page with us.”
Ndume said the programme is also being run at the detriment of millions of people who have been displaced by Boko Haram activities over the past decades.
He said the government should focus on more support for internally displaced persons and keep captured Boko Haram members in custody until the war on terror is won.
“They can be kept as prisoners of war. After that, we profile them and those that are supposed to be charged to court should be charged, and those that were victims of Boko Haram that were conscripted forcefully should be released,” he said.
A total of 881 repentant former terrorists have been released since Operation Safe Corridor was launched four years ago.
The latest batch was released in July around the same time that Boko Haram executed five abducted aid workers on camera.
The Islamic sect has killed over 30,000 people, and displaced over 2.5 million people since 2009.
Ndume noted during his media briefing that the budget of the Army should be increased as a matter of urgency, raising alarm that criminals now appear to be better-equipped than troops.