The Presidency has debunked reports former Boko Haram terrorists are being converted into the Armed Forces, describing the report as fake news.
There has been a flurry of reports claiming former Boko Haram terrorists, who had been put through the deradicalisation and reintegration programme of the Federal Government, are being absorbed into the Armed Forces, raising lots of anger and public agitation in recent times.
However, in a statement on Wednesday night by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the Presidency warned the public, opinion leaders, including federal lawmakers, to be wary of unfounded reports.
According to the statement, the deradicalisation programme, which it claimed has international inputs, entails a lot of scrutiny and is primarily to see to reformation of hitherto hardened terrorists who have turned a new leaf.
“None of the 601 former Boko Haram members who voluntarily laid down their arms, and have recently graduated from the Federal Government’s de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme, is going into the military.
“This is the fourth such graduation of repentant Boko Haram fighters and not one of such graduates has been absorbed into the military.
“The public needs to be reassured the de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of violent extremists of the Buhari administration code named “Operation Safe Corridor,” follows an established example from countries with similar experiences, and is supported academically and materially by the European Union and the United Nations.
“The lead agency for the implementation of the programme in Gombe is the International Organization for Migration, a leading inter-government organization which is represented in Nigeria.
“It is also important to note that this programme does not have a place for hard boiled, ideologically hardened terrorists.
“It only admits, after careful scrutiny, repentant fighters that were captured and forced to bear arms in the first instance, and there are many who have been drafted by Force.”
“The Buhari administration is a responsible one and is conscious of its duty to the state and society, and to the victims of terror as well as to those who inflicted these pains and losses on our people,” the statement reads.