Afghan lessons for Nigeria

August 20, 2021
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Having wasted innocent lives, the Federal Government’s compensation for repentant Boko Haram members is an act that continues to leave a fracture on the fabric of our country.

Having pulled triggers at innocent souls and slit throats, the government’s solution is rehabilitation of serial killers who had wreaked havoc on innocent Nigerians.

Having provoked many tears and left many homes in agony that will remain for years, the best punishment FG could mete out to allegedly repentant terrorists is reintegration into the society to live with their victims and families.

Is FG advising itself or owing its think tank whose unmeaning advice could be in revenge of unpaid salaries and remuneration? The niggling romance of terrorists by the government is a worrisome decision that needs to be dissected with serious concern. Does the government have a hint of Afghanistan’s current ordeal and the brunt they bear for reintegrating repentant Talibans into the society? Many of them were not genuine in their repentance and worked as spies that divulged vital information to their remaining members in hideouts, like Kairullah Khairkhwa, who was rehabilitated and set free from Guantanamo prison by President Obama, and now a major leader of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Is that not enough a salient message?

Handling terrorists with kid gloves rather than iron hand is so unhealthy for a country that is already at crossroads; this action from the government will only continue to fan the ember of chaos, like the Governor Of Borno, Babangana Zulum had said.

It has been confirmed that the concept of deradicalisation or Safe Corridor is not working as expected. Quite often, those who have passed through the Safe Corridor initiative, or have been deradicalised, usually go back and rejoin the terror group after carefully studying the various security arrangements in their host communities, during the reintegration process.

It then remains a question begging for sincere answers, if the government really means well for the lives of people in host communities where repentant terrorists are reintegrated, or if perhaps, the lives of our military men, many of whom have were slain by these same terrorists, is valued. Upon sharing photos of repentant Boko Haram members holding placards that seek forgiveness from Nigerians, the reaction of a young widow, Oluwaseun Sakaba, whose husband, Lt. Col I. Sakaba, was one of the 44 soldiers killed by the insurgents during an attack on 157 Task Force Battalion in Metele, Guzamala Local Government Area of Borno State in November 2018, melt my heart.  She wrote “@hqnigerianarmy …I should forgive them for making me a young widow, I should forgive them for killing my husband, his brother and his mom!! I should forgive them for making me seek shelter in another country!! I should forgive them for making many women widows and kids fatherless.” This, indeed, radiates sadness to one’s heart – and then, the question arises: does the FG really value the lives of our military men?

A government that treats peaceful protesters harshly should stop pacifying serial killers. It is high time the government learnt from Afghanistan. Immediate prosecution of insurgents in accordance with the “Terrorism Act” should be given a priority; as no terrorist fully repents from his ideology. It’s only a matter of time and chance before they swing back into action.

Hashim Yussuf Amao,

Ibadan.

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