The Defence Headquarters Sunday denied that it was employing deradicalized former Boko Haram fighters into the Nigerian military.
Acting Director Defence Information, Colonel Onyema Nwachukwu explained that the claims in the said report are not only bereft of truth, but laced with “mediocrity emanating from poorly researched and uninformed position.”
Nwachukwu said that deradicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme is a Federal Government program conducted under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor as a non- kinetic operation.
“Nigeria’s De-radicalization model is a very effective one, targeted at low-risk combatants and has become a classical example in the Lake Chad Basin region and West Africa.
“Over 250 repentant insurgents who willingly abandoned their struggle and surrendered to federal troops have been de-radicalized, rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society by their respective state governments in conjunction with traditional and religious institutions.
“Nigeria’s deradicalization model is therefore not new in the global community, as such model exists in Algeria, Colombia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where persons involved in violent extremism have been de-radicalized and rehabilitated. This process is therefore an internationally acceptable practice now.
According to him “So far in Nigeria, the de-radicalized ex-fighters are doing well in their respective communities, as no adverse report has been recorded against the de-radicalized repentant ex-fighters by Operation Safe Corridor’s monitoring unit.
“There has not been report of molestation or harassment of any sort against them by members of the communities, where they are resettled. As a matter of verifiable fact, the reintegrated ex- fighters are doing well in their various endeavours and are positively impacting on their respective communities.
“It is also expedient to state, that the Federal Government of Nigeria has continued to prosecute BHT/ISWAP suspects in courts of competent jurisdiction and over 500 Boko Haram terrorists have so far been convicted. Meanwhile, the next round of prosecution of another batch of terrorism suspects is due to commence shortly.
“The Defence Headquarters reiterates its commitment to ensuring a well motivated, trained and equipped Armed Forces that is professionally responsive to national security commitments.