Residents in the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camps in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, have expressed concerns over plans by the Federal Government to grant amnesty to certain repentant Boko Haram insurgents. Some issued warnings that such policies may be dangerous to displaced people returning to the area.
These sentiments were issued during a workshop on Friday at the Nigeria Labour Congress secretariat complex in Maiduguri titled: “Sensitization of Religious and Traditional Leaders, De-radicalizsation, and Counter-Terrorism in the Northeast.”
Participants at the workshop warned government that it would be that dangerous for members of communities and repentant insurgents to live together after the series of attacks and killing of many people for over six years.
They said that the de-radicalized insurgents should be provided with a special place or areas by the Federal and State governments.
“This may lead to another war, and even worse than the current Boko Haram insurgency that has claimed many lives and property in Borno state and the North-East sub-region of the country,” warned the participants.
Speaking on theme of workshop, a program officer from the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Ikponmwosa David Omoigiade, disclosed “The Federal Government selected 10 communities from Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states for the Boko Haram de-radicalization programs. It will also rehabilitate the repentant insurgents with continuous support of integrating the de-radicalized insurgents into the society.”
Consensus among the participants agreed that government’s plans to integrate repentant insurgents poses a threat to the lives of civilians who are gradually returning after many years of suffering and victimization.
“It might take us 40 years before we can forgive and forget Boko Haram insurgents; because the federal government did not feel or know what we are going through so if they grant them amnesty; I think it could be dangerous for us willing to go back to our communities,” said Mala Usman, an IDP and participant from Bama.
He added “The de-radicalisation or repentance of Boko Haram insurgents will not solve the problem; because the Islamic sect’s doctrine has eaten deep in its members; so let the government clear them all. Issue of repentance does not arise at all in the peaceful coexistence of various communities in Borno state.”
Murktar Modu also complained of starvation and bias in the distribution of relief items. He said the financial crisis in the country has worsened the conditions of IDPs; especially those living in the host communities of Maiduguri metropolis.
“Almost 80 per cent of IDPs are willing to go back, we have nothing doing here, some of us could not get food to eat even for us living within the host communities find it difficult to renew our rents due to financial crisis in country, but if we go back within time; we shall get over it,” said Modu.