The Senate on Thursday started work on a bill for a law seeking the establishment of a national agency for education and rehabilitation of repentant Boko Haram insurgents.
When it eventually becomes a law, it will ensure de-radicalisation of repentant Boko Haram militants and other insurgents.
The bill, which was sponsored by the All Progressives Congress member representing Yobe East Senatorial District, and former governor of Yobe State, Senator Ibrahim Gaidam, passed the first reading on Thursday.
It was supported by the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs.
Reading the bill, Geidam, who is from the same state with the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, said the document titled, “National agency for the education, rehabilitation, de-radicalisation and integration of repentant insurgents in Nigeria,” would ensure that repentant insurgents were fully integrated into society.
The proposed agency, according to the legislation, would provide educational opportunities for the insurgents.
It will also rehabilitate, de-radicalise and integrate the repentant insurgents in the country. The proposed agency, according to the bill, will provide recreational sports and fine arts programmes for the repentant insurgents.
The bill also states that the agency will be able to gain a greater understanding of both the immediate needs for combating Boko Haram, as well as tool for counter-radicalisation in the future, by maintaining open lines of communication.
The proposed agency will also provide vocational rehabilitation facilities for the repentant terrorists to learn carpentry, clay shaping, pottery and the like.
The bill adds that repentant insurgents will make use of art through drawings, guided by professional art therapists in their art. rehabilitation.
The main aims of the bill are to “provide avenue for rehabilitating, de-radicalising, educating and reintegrating the defectors, repentant and detained members of the insurgent group Boko Haram to make them useful members of the society.
“Provide avenue for reconciliation and promote national security. Provide an-open-door and encouragement for other members of the group who are still engaged in the insurgency to abandon the group, especially in the face of the military pressure.
“Give the government an opportunity to derive insider-information about the insurgent group for greater understanding of the group and its inner workings.
“Gain greater understanding of the insurgents will enable government to address the immediate concerns of violence and study the needs of de-radicalization effort to improve the process of de-radicalization.
“Help disintegrate the violent and poisonous ideology that the group spreads as the programme will enable some convicted or suspected terrorists to express remorse over their actions.
“Make them repent and recant their violent ideology and re-enter mainstream politics, religion and society.”
Recall that the military established a rehabilitating centre in Gombe State for repentant Boko Haram terrorists.
The centre, it was reported, had trained and rehabilitated over 1,000 insurgents since its inception over three years ago.
The Borno State Government had also revealed that about 1,400 repentant Boko Haram suspects had been released by the military and rehabilitated into society.