The Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum, has said the concept of deradicalisation of Boko Haram terrorists otherwise known as Safe Corridor is not working as expected.
Zulum said this while delivering his speech at the North-East Governors’ Forum meeting which held today at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Bauchi State.
Present at the meeting are Governors of Borno, Adamawa, Gombe and Bauchi, while Taraba and Yobe states were represented by their deputies.
According to Zulum, those who have passed through the deradicalisation initiative often go back to rejoin the terror group after they have spied on their host communities who often resent their presence.
He said, “Your Excellencies, another aspect of the war against the insurgency that needs to be urgently reviewed or modified, is the issue of deradicalisation of Boko Haram terrorists, who have been captured or have willingly surrendered themselves to the authorities.
“It has been confirmed that the concept of de-radicalization or Safe Corridor is not working as expected. Quite often, those who have passed through the Safe Corridor Initiative, or have been de-radicalized, usually go back and rejoin the terror group after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process.
“In addition, the host communities where the reintegration process is going on usually resent the presence of Boko Haram terrorists, even if they have been de-radicalized, because of the despicable and atrocious activities they have committed in the past.
“So the idea of deradicalisation, as currently being implemented, needs to be reviewed because the main goals and the underlying objectives behind the initiative are not being achieved.
“The best option is to immediately prosecute the terrorists, in accordance with the Terrorism Act. However, those people who, ab initio, were forcefully recruited but have been rescued or have escaped from the group, should be the ones to be subjected to the deradicalisation process.”
The Governor lamented the delay witnessed in the prosecution of terrorists, advising that state Attorney-Generals should be allowed to have powers in the process.
He said, “On the prosecution of terrorists, we must make efforts to avoid the current encumbrances and intricacies associated with the process, which usually takes considerable time, by urging the appropriate federal authorities to devolve the powers of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation to State Attorneys-General in order to facilitate the prosecution process.
“At the moment, only the Attorney-General of the Federation is statutorily empowered to prosecute terrorists, which, quite often, results in avoidable delays. We once again call on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to delegate his prosecutorial fiat to the States Attorneys General to prosecute such cases in their respective states as justice delayed is justice denied.”