Residents of Maiduguri in Borno State and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps have raised alarm over Federal Government plans to grant amnesty to repentant Boko Haram insurgents, warning that it may be dangerous to returning displaced persons.
The alarm was raised on Friday at a workshop on the Sensitization of Religious and Traditional Leaders, De-radicalisation and Counter-Terrorism and Migration in Northeast at the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) secretariat complex, Maiduguri.
Participants at the workshop warned government that it would be dangerous and pose security risks 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-radicalised 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 the theme of the workshop, the Programme Officer of Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Ikponmwosa Omoigiade, disclosed: “The Federal Government selected 10 communities from Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states for the Boko Haram de-redicalisation programme. It will also rehabilitate the repentant insurgents with continuous support of integrating the de-radicalised insurgents into the society.”
The participants however; unanimously agreed that government’s plans on repentant insurgents pose a threat to the lives of civilians who are gradually returning after they have suffered series of devastation and loss of many lives and property.
“It might take us 40 years before we can forgive and forget Boko Haram insurgents; because the Federal Government do not feel or know what we are going through. If they grant them amnesty, it could be dangerous for those of us willing to go back to our communities,” said Mala Usman, an IDP and participant from Bama.”
He continued: “The de-radicalisation or repentance of Boko Haram insurgents will notsolve the problem because the Islamic sect’s doctrine has eaten deep into its members; solet the government clear them all. Issue of repentance does not arise at all in the peaceful coexistence of various communities in Borno State.”
Murktar Alhaji 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.