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The Senate, yesterday, unequivocally restated its opposition to the granting of amnesty to acclaimed repentant Boko Haram insurgents, saying some of them masterminded recent attacks in Damboa, Borno State in which several persons, including an army General, were killed.
This was made known yesterday as the Members of the Committee on Army, briefed newsmen shortly after the budget defense.
They also called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to expedite action on the prosecution of sponsors of Islamic terrorists’ activities in the country. It will be recalled that six Nigerians were jailed in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for sponsoring insurgency.
Since the administration of President Buhari came on board, no known sponsor of the terrorist group has been jailed. However, many key terrorists are currently undergoing trial, while others have been granted amnesty.
Mohammed Ali Ndume, who is the chairman of the committee while speaking on behalf of the committee, said the UAE did a good job by jailing those sponsoring Boko Haram. He, however, totally disagreed with the idea of the Federal Government de-radicalisation and reintegration of purported repentant Boko Haram members into the society.
‘The position of the executive is different. I still maintain that position. You can’t be pampering people while their victims are still there. In my own village, malams, elders that are 65 to 70 years, more than 75 of them were taken to an abattoir and slaughtered by Boko Haram.’
‘Can you imagine that the Nigeria Army and the Nigerian Government are saying that it’s because these people have gone to repent and you are bringing them back and you pamper them?’
‘I have 10,000 of them there. If you give each of them ₦50,000, they will go back home tomorrow. They are displaced, they are suffering. They know these Boko Haram and their parents. “The recent attack in Damboa was carried out by a repentant Boko Haram giving information as in the movement of the army. The General that was killed was a victim.’
‘They can be kept as prisoners of war. After that, you profile them and charge those that are supposed to be charged to court and those that are victims of Boko Haram that were forcefully conscripted should be released.’
Continuing, the Senate said prosecuting sponsors of Boko Haram would show that the government was serious about ending the insurgency war.
‘We are very grateful to the government of UAE and we are still appealing to our government to bring those directly or indirectly involved in Boko Haram activities to book immediately. I think so far, they have not been up and doing that,’ he said.
He canvas for more adequate funding for the military so that they continue war against Boko Haram. He also cited that the army is operating in various theatres across the country where they are fighting insecurity.
He said ‘The Federal Government must, as a matter of national security, provide the Army with more funding for its budget which the committee considers insignificant to the security challenges at hand.’
The Army had presented a budget of ₦509.66bn with a Capital budget proposal of ₦27.87 billion, ₦20.634 billion for overhead while ₦460.958 billion is proposed for personnel.
Senator Ali Ndume said that the Army is present in various theatres across the country where it is operating in the fields to combat insecurity in one form or the other, hence the need to boost her capital budget to meet her constitutional mandate of securing the lives, property and territorial integrity of Nigeria.
AFRICA TODAY NEWS, NEW YORK