By Peter Uwumarogie
Malam Sidi (Gombe State) – Some 602 repentant Boko Haram members, on Monday, denounced their membership of the group and swore Oath of Allegiance to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The ex-insurgents who have completed a de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme, denounced their membership of the insurgent group at the Malam Sidi Camp in Kwami Local Government area of Gombe State.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that they denounced their membership of Boko Haram before an 11-man Quasi Judicial Panel headed by Justice Nehizena Afolabi, of the Federal High Court, Gombe.
Speaking during the exercise, Maj.-Gen. Bamidele Shafa, the Coordinator, Operation Safe Corridor, said the appearance of the repentant insurgents before the judicial panel was a major requirement, before their reintegration into the society.
“The panel is for the clients to appear before it to confess their pasts and denounce their membership of Boko Haram, Islamic State’s West Africa Province (ISWAP) as the case maybe.
“And swear Oath of Allegiance to be loyal, discipline and obedient citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and then make commitment.
“The commitment is that at the end of the programme, where they commit any offence, they stand to forfeit all privileges that they have acquired today and will be liable of offence against the State.”
Shafa reveled that since the operationalisation of the DRR programme in 2016, it had admitted 893 clients into camp while 280 including two Chadians had been transferred to their various national and state authorities.
The Borno State Commissioner of Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo, said there was already a structure on ground in Borno to continue from where the DRR programme stopped.
“We will provide them with psycho-social supports, continue with religious admonition in order to make them good citizens of the country.
“We will also give them starter packs to help them practice the skills that had been acquired in the camp here,” she said.
The commissioner said that those earlier released to the Borno Government from the camp had been assimilated into the society and were doing well.
She disclosed that one of them makes N250, 000 from barbing on monthly basis and had employed several youths.
In an interview with newsmen, Mr Jasper Ukachukwu, Senior Programme Officer, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) said the idea of setting up the panel was to ensure some level of accountability in the DRR programme.
“So that even when they step out of here they will also be held accountable to any offence they may commit,” he said.
Ukachukwu said that the programme was sending the right message to those insurgents who are still fighting for the Boko Haram group, adding that there had been success stories from the programme.
“When you are in the group and you are tired and want to come out of the bush, you need to see what is happening to others; so the DRR programme is sending the right message,” he said.