About 559 repentant members of the outlawed Boko Haram and Islamic West African Province (ISWAP) has graduated from the Federal Government’s De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation, and Reintegration (DRR) programme.
The DRR programme by the Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC) of the Nigerian Army was established by the Federal Government in 2015 to deradicalise and reintegrate ex-Boko Haram members into society.
The programme provides psychological, psycho-social/psycho-spiritual therapies as well as vocational training, which provide viable alternatives to low-profile combatants.
The graduates, who included two Chadians, were trained in carpentry, welding, tailoring, barbing and laundry services.
OPSC commandant, Colonel Uche Nnabuihe, said, “63 were trained in barbing; 76 in shoemaking; 175 in welding; 167 in tailoring; 56 in carpentry and 22 in laundry services.”
Speaking at the event, Joseph Maina, coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, said a total of 1070 repentant Boko Haram members have graduated from the programme between 2015 to date and reintegrated into society.
Maina said the graduating class arrived at the DRR camp between July 15 and September 6, 2021.
He said the repentant fighters went through various rebuilding activities of the programme and had successfully undergone a series of medical screening, psychological and psycho-spiritual counselling, sports therapy, drug abuse counselling, western education and vocational training.
“Since September 2015, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari established the Operation Safe Corridor to encourage willing and repentant Boko Haram members to surrender and go through a well-structured rehabilitation and deradicalisation and reintegration programmes,” he said.
“This programme began effectively in 2016 by the committee constituted by the chief of defence staff to operationalise the mandate of the Commander in Chief. Consequently, personnel were drawn from the 17 services, ministries, departments, and agencies to execute the concept of operation.
“Since the DRR camp became fully operational, a total of 1070 ex-combatants have successfully gone through the programme and have been reintegrated into society.
“This morning, another set of 559 class will be graduating from the programme and they too will be reintegrated back into their community subsequently.”
Also speaking at the event, Chief of Defence, Training and Operations, Gen. M. Adeyemi Yekini, who represented the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Leo Irabor, commended the repentant Boko Haram members for laying down their arms against the country, and urged them to appreciate and reciprocate the confidence reposed in them as “worthy beneficiaries of our DDR programme”.
Noting that the graduands’ immediate communities may be reluctant to reabsorb them, the defence chief said, “I can assure you that if you remember and practice everything you learned during the DRR programme, you will surmount these challenges.”
He further advised the beneficiaries to resist the temptation to sell the equipment and tools provided them, and urged them to fulfill their part of the oath taken, reminding them that going back to their old ways of life may be resisted with mightier force.
“I urge you to go out there and be worthy ambassadors of Operation Safe Corridor by being law-abiding and responsible citizens,” he stated.
“Finally, I want to remind you of the consequences of violating the oath of allegiance you have sworn. You must uphold the pledge to be loyal to the federal government at all times and shun all forms of violence and criminality.”
The repentant members, who wore white attire with green caps, each swore an oath of allegiance to the federal government of Nigeria during the event which was held on Sunday, in Gombe state.
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