Lucky Irabor, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, says more suspected members of the Boko Haram terror group currently in detention will go on trial in June this year.
Irabor disclosed this at a meeting in Abuja on Monday, themed ‘The North-East Symposium on Reintegration, Reconciliation and Resettlement.’
The military in 2016 launched Operation Safe Corridor (OSC), an initiative for the deradicalisation and rehabilitation of ex-Boko Haram members.
“Arrangements are also being concluded to begin the trial of another set of Boko Haram suspects. That will start between now and June.”
He also disclosed that no fewer than 1,000 insurgents have been prosecuted and a total of 500 jailed since the inception of OSC.
Irabor said while more members of the terror group will go on trial in June, 500 convicted terrorists were jailed for five to 60 years.
Represented by Bamidele Ashafa, a Maj-Gen. and the OSC Commander, the Chief of Defence Staff said, the Nigerian Government would not tolerate acts of terror by Boko Haram.
Babagana Zulum, Borno State Governor had earlier in March, during a North-East Governors’ Forum meeting in Bauchi, said the initiative was not working and needed to be reviewed because some of the ex-Boko Haram members only come to spy on communities and then return to join the group.
Catriona Laing, the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, expressed concerns on behalf of the UK about the Boko Haram insurgency and the constant humanitarian crisis.
The Commissioner also called for synergy amongst the governors of the Northeast and the heads of states of the Lake Chad Basin countries to enable communities to recover their livelihoods.
Nigeria currently has three deradicalisation programs that support Boko Haram defectors. The Prison Program works with militants convicted of violent extremist offences or those on or awaiting trial.
During the program, inmates are taught non-violent interpretations of Islam, and other programs such as vocational training to enable them fruitfully reintegrate into society on completion of their prison terms.
Yellow Ribbon Initiative supports women and children associated with Boko Haram by providing psychosocial therapy and reintegration programs.
The Operation Safe Corridor works with Boko Haram defectors by providing them with trauma counselling to address extremist ideology.