If the repentant Boko Haram members thought members of the Borno community will welcome them with open arms, then maybe they need to have their heads examined.
I thought I was watching a comedy-drama when I saw them holding placards with the inscription “ please forgive us “.
If it was meant to be a crude joke, Nigerians especially in the northeast are not finding it funny.
To be sure, among those who surrendered is the alleged chief bomb expert of the terrorists known as Musa Adamu, a.k.a Mala Musa Abuja, and his second-in-command, Usman Adamu, also called Abu Darda, along with their families in Bama Local Government Area of Borno State.
The surrendered terrorists and their families numbered 335 fighters, 746 adult women, and children including one of the abducted Chibok girls.
According to reports, they were fleeing from being killed by ISWAP so their repentance was more of survival rather than genuine.
I am also not comfortable with the rate they are surrendering putting the communities at risk. It may also be a decoy, you never know with these insurgents.
The question I ask is, were they expecting warm embraces and a red carpet reception from people who have killed their parents, brothers, and sisters? Were they expecting a warm pat on the back? were they expecting the parents of the Chibok girls that returned with children to hug them for taking away the innocence of their children? For the returning Chibok girls, having stayed years in captivity with the terrorists, I don’t think life can ever remain the same again.
Is it also possible to rehabilitate or deradicalize someone from extremist ideologies? I don’t think so.
In the case of repentant terrorists, forgiveness is completely out of the question. They must face trial and be prosecuted. We have heard countless stories of rehabilitated insurgents killing their loved ones and returning to the bush and we can’t allow that to happen.
No doubt, some of them were abducted and made to start killing. But how do we differentiate them? How are we sure Stockholm Syndrome has not set in?
We can’t be thinking of rehabilitation for insurgents who have killed at least 50 thousand Nigerians since the insurgency started in 2009.
What is even complicating matters presently is the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban. Most Nigerians contend that the surrendered insurgents will be supplying information to their masters in a bid to launch an audacious move in the coming days.
I recall that President,Muhammadu Buhari in an article published in the Financial Times of London on Sunday
said that with the United States’ pullout from Afghanistan and the subsequent takeover of power by the Taliban, Africa has automatically become the new frontline of terror and global militancy.
He said for Africa to defeat the growing terrorism on its soil, it would require more than US military aid but the entire world coming together for its sake.
The Sahel remains vulnerable to Boko Haram, 20 years after its formation, and other radical groups. Somalia is in its second decade fighting the equally extreme al-Shabaab. Many African nations are submerged under the weight of insurgency,” he added.
I completely agree with the President on this. Africa is a fertile ground for terrorist groups and the leaders must step up.
Like I previously stated, forgiveness, rehabilitation, and radicalization are completely out of question. It has never worked and I don’t think it will work now.
It is also an insult to our brave military officers who have died in their thousands fighting to defend the country.
We can’t even be thinking of amnesty or repentance when the war has not ended. Boko Haram’s nefarious cousin’s bandits are still on a killing spree in the northwest and north-central. We can start talking about it when the military has completed their job.For now they must face trial.