BY KAZIE UKO
The Borno State governor, Prof Babagana Zulum, has said that deradicalized Boko Haram terrorists often go back to rejoin the group after they have spied on their communities.
Prof Zulum made the chilling revelation in his opening remarks as the Chairman of the North East Governors’ Forum, at the 4th meeting of the forum, held on Wednesday, 3rd march 2021, at the Government House, Bauchi.
Said the governor: “Your Excellencies, another aspect of the war against the insurgency that needs to be urgently reviewed or modified, is the issue of deradicalization of Boko Haram terrorists, who have been captured or have willingly surrendered themselves to the authorities.
“It has been confirmed that the concept of deradicalization or Safe Corridor, is not working as expected. Quite often those who have passed through the Safe Corridor Initiative or have been de-radicalized, usually go back and rejoin the terror group, after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process.
“In addition, the host communities where the reintegration process is going on, usually resent the presence of Boko Haram terrorists, even if they have been de-radicalized, because of the despicable and atrocious activities they have committed in the past.
“So, the idea of de-radicalization, as currently being implemented needs to be reviewed, because the main goals and the underlying objectives behind the initiative, are not being achieved.”
Proffering alternative to the deradicalization programme, Zulum said: “The best option is to immediately prosecute the terrorists, in accordance with the Terrorism Act. However, those people who, ab initio, were forcefully recruited but have been rescued or have escaped from the group, should be the ones to be subjected to the deradicalization process.
“On the prosecution of terrorists, we must make efforts to avoid the current encumbrances and intricacies associated with the process, which usually takes considerable time, by urging the appropriate federal authorities to devolve the powers of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation to State Attorneys-General in order to facilitate the prosecution process.
“At the moment, only the Attorney-General of the Federation is statutorily empowered to prosecute terrorists, which, quite often, results in avoidable delays. We once again call on the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice to delegate his prosecutorial fiat to the States Attorneys General to prosecute such cases in their respective States as justice delayed is justice denied.”