Story from Saleh INUWA, Kano
After more than 5 hours of extensive deliberations by stakeholders in Borno State, which included first-class traditional rulers, Imams and opinion leaders, the state government finally announced the acceptance of over 3,000 Boko Haram terrorists back into a community with total forgiveness.
The decision was taken at a stakeholders meeting to discuss the prevailing security situation in the state, the meeting was organized by the Borno State government.
The state government has confirmed that at least over 3,000 persons who were members of the armed opposition group laid down their arms, and surrendered to the Nigerian Army.
Governor Babagana Zulum, who presided over the meeting disclosed that apart from the 3,000 ex-terrorists currently in the custody of the government, another confirmed 900 members of Boko Haram have surrendered to Cameroonian forces.
Governor Zulum added that the stakeholders meeting which was held yesterday, Sunday, became necessary following the mixed reactions that recently trailed the mass surrender of the former Boko Haram fighters which is why the government involved all stakeholders in the decision making process on how to deal with the repentant Boko Haram terrorists.
Various stakeholders at the meeting which lasted for 5 hours, expressed their views on how the former terrorists should be accepted and treated in the society because they killed thousands of innocent people, kidnapped and raped several women, killed over 13 district heads, several ward heads and destruction of properties valued at millions of naira.
At the end of the meeting, which was attended by many government functionaries, religious and traditional rulers, security operatives and members of the civil society, the meeting issued a statement detailing their resolve to accept the repentant terrorists but gave the condition of what the ex-terrorists must do for them to be integrated into the society.
Key stakeholders at the meeting, include National Assembly members, state lawmakers, soldiers and representatives of security agencies, victims of the insurgency, religious leaders, elderly persons, representatives of civil society, that of labour and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
The meeting also agreed for a periodic review of security situations in the state, even though some speakers have openly told the meeting that people of their communities will find it difficult to forgive the horror of Boko Haram activities, because they killed and slaughtered innocent people, including married women who were kidnapped and raped openly before the public, this will remain fresh in their minds, especially while thousands of innocent citizens of the state are still missing.