Following mass surrender by some members of Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), the federal government has its hands full with almost 10,000 repentant terrorists.
Security experts express mixed opinions on the call for Amnesty for terrorists after the destruction of lives and property in over a decade’s fight with insurgents.
A public affairs analyst and veteran, Banjo Daniel told me that granting amnesty to the Boko Haram Terrorists (BHT) is being unfair to the victims of the Boko Haram insurgency, adding that every criminal should face the justice system.
In a chat with another veteran, Abdullahi Awwal, he notes that it was a good sign to see terrorists surrendering to troops. He is of the opinion that there is a need for them to be protected from those that they betrayed in the process of handing themselves in and be rehabilitated and reintegrated without prosecution.
“Is it necessary to give them, amnesty? I say yes. In the history of war, if an opponent surrenders willingly, the rule of engagement says you should receive him and treat him with dignity and respect,” he said, adding that surrendered terrorists could be a resource to the troops.
Awwal urged the government to look into the issue and provide the necessary compensation to the families of victims as well.
Meanwhile, the director, Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, in an exclusive interview says the mass surrendering was due to a combination of kinetic and non kinetic approaches to tackle the situation in Northeast Nigeria that is yielding results.
He indicates that BHT Commanders have been systematically eliminated by ISWAP high command, while their foot soldiers have been relegated. “The BHTs have therefore decided to toe the line of peace, rather than continue with ISWAP in pursuing interests of foreign non-state actors.
“They have turned their back against ISWAP and showed preference for surrendering to our troops. As they are surrendering in Nigeria, they are also surrendering in other countries of the Lake Chad Commission.
“The actions of Joint Task Force Operation HADIN KAI as a professional force, in receiving and handling of the surrendering insurgents is in conformity with the provisions of the international law and treaties of conflict, to which Nigeria is a signatory and this provides that surrendering combatants be taken into custody, investigated and processed and not to take extrajudicial actions against them.
“As professional military, it is not in our purview to prosecute or set them free. It will also be prejudicial to mete out any punitive measures on our part,” he said.