Senator representing Borno South in the National Assembly, Ali Ndume has again expressed reservations over the extension of amnesty to “repentant” members of the terror gang, Boko Haram.
Senator Ndume who incidentally is the Chairman Senate Committee on Army made the declaration while speaking with newsmen at the weekend in Abuja.
He insisted that extending State pardon to erstwhile members of the terror group when the war against their activities was still ongoing would not bring the required lasting peace.
He said: “Majority of Nigerians are against the way that the Operation Safe Corridor is being conducted. It is wrong to be granting amnesty to repentant terrorists when the war is still far from being over. The war must be over before we start doing that. The military could open up the corridor, allow everybody to enter and start profiling them and keep them somewhere as prisoners of war and train them. After the war, they could be reconciled with the victims of their unfortunate actions. That is what is being done all over the world. The current arrangement where the repentant insurgents are granted amnesty without apologizing to the victims and the state, cannot bring about the required peace.”
Speaking on the condition of the Internally Displaced Persons in the Northeast region, Senator Ndume appealed to both state and federal authorities to make conscious efforts to rehabilitate them as he noted that giving them handouts at the IDPs camps was not sustainable.
“Just last week, over 1,000 Kawuri people, along the Maiduguri-Bama Road, about 40 kilometres away from Maiduguri, returned to their town. Kawuri was where the insurgents massacred 85 people in one day sometime in February 2014.
“I was at Ngwoche with the governor and preparations were at the final stage to return the displaced persons on October 15. The government is also making efforts to return the people of four other communities at the various IDP camps by the end of the year.
“We call on the federal and state government to provide the people with farm implements, fertilizers and other agricultural extension services for them to engage in dry season farming because they have missed the raining season now
“Despite the difficult challenges confronting the military operation in my area, the soldiers deployed to fight the insurgents have been very wonderful. At Ngwoche for instance, the military personnel there, apart from repelling the attacks from the insurgents, have mobilized resources to start rebuilding, through direct labour, houses that were destroyed by the Boko Haram fighters. The soldiers did not know the owners of the houses they are rebuilding.
“In Gwoza, one Colonel Lamidi, a Yoruba man who has been there now for three years as the battalion commander, bought two golf cars and converted them to gun trucks due to lack of equipment to fight the insurgents. The same Colonel Lamidi has been going after the insurgents with the golf cars he reconstructed to gun trucks.
“Apart from this, the soldiers are also engaged in civil activities. Some soldiers with a diploma and degree certificates are now teaching school children whose parents have returned to some of the affected communities. They even hired 50 volunteers, who they are paying about N30, 000 per month from their salaries and allowances, to teach in some schools also.”
The Chairman Senate Committee on Army who disclosed that human activities have since picked up in Chibok town called on the federal government to adequately equip the military in its battle against the insurgents.
“The former Brigade Commander built about two boreholes in Gwoza as his own contribution. The Nigerian Army is doing their best but they don’t have enough personnel, resources and adequate equipment to really execute the war effectively.
“In Damboa where we lost about 24 solders as a result of the ambush by the insurgents. The Army deployed a battalion to the area and since then, the incidence of the ambush had stopped.”
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