The Director General, D-G, of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, Alhaji Mohammed Sani Sidi, on Monday disclosed that no fewer than 800 repentant Boko Haram terrorists are currently undergoing skills acquisition training.
Speaking at a two-day Public Hearing on the North East Development Commission, NEDC, Bill, 2016, the NEMA boss stated that the skills acquisition exercise is being handled by the military and monitored by the Office of the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS.
He made this known while reacting to the comment of a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Kaka Kyari Gujbawu, who advocated general amnesty for Boko Haram members who give up terrorism-related activities.
“It is not true that the Federal Government has no amnesty package. There is what is called safe corridor. I do know that 800 plus (Boko Haram) have been registered. I don’t want to be specific. They have exited Boko Haram through the window. They are currently receiving various skill acquisition training. The military is handling it. It is being monitored by the Office of the CDS,” Sidi said.
Hon. Gujbawu had in his presentation at the event said that the NEDC Bill should include amnesty for repentant Boko Haram insurgents because most of the insurgents were conscripted and forced to fight along Boko Haram members.
Arguing that a second life should be given to the repentant insurgents, he called for provisions to be made for members of the Civilian Joint Task Force, who he said were being used and dumped.
Gujbawu said that some form of integration in the line of employment should be evolved for the Civilian JTF members who helped tremendously to push out Boko Haram insurgents from Maidugiri.
Reacting to the above submission, Senator Abubakar Kyari (Borno North) noted that the Borno State Government was already doing something for the Civilian JTF.
He noted that the state government has trained them under the supervision of the military and provided vehicles and uniform for the group.
Kyari also said that the state government is paying stipends to members of the Civilian JTF out of its meager resources.
He noted that it would wrong to say that nothing is being done for the members of the Civilian JTF.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Joint Committee on the North East Development Commission Bill, Senator Abdul-Aziz Murtala Nyako, assured that his committee would consider the amnesty aspect “critically” as well as discuss with the Executive on the issue.
Nyako said that it is only after such critical consideration that the committee would determine whether amnesty would party of the Bill.
He acknowledged the motion against the insurgency that was moved by Senator Thompson Sekibo and 40 others as part of the off-shoot of the Bill.
He said that the NEDC Bill was sponsored by 18 Senators of the North East zone across party lines led by the Senate Leader, Senator Mohammad Ali Ndume.
Nyako added that Nigerians should come to terms with the alarming fact that the North East zone is rapidly deteriorating as a result of the insurgency that began in 2009.
According to him, “We often consider death as the most noticeable effect of this insurgency, but we need to look at our current situation holistically.
“Hundreds if not thousands of schools have been reduced to rubles; magistrates courts that used to resolve communal conflicts have been destroyed; hospitals and small clinics that used to treat nursing mothers, children and the elderly are non-existent, police and law enforcement structures have been demolished; homes, markets, public parks and community centers are completely ruined; women, men and children fleeing their homes have been forced to take shelter in completely foreign communities; our fellow brothers and sisters have been murdered, tortured, raped, dehumanized and rendered homeless.”