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Over 800 members of the Boko Haram terrorist group are currently undergoing vocational training under the supervision of the office of the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. General Gabriel Olonishakin.
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Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Alhaji Sani Sidi, who was at the public hearing on a bill seeking to establish the North East Development Commission (NEDC) at the Senate, said the repentant Boko Haram insurgents have been registered in a programme tagged, “Safe Corridor initiative”.
He said the programme was conceived to provide a leeway for repentant members of the sect to return to normal life.Meanwhile, the Senate announced yesterday that it would pass the North East Development Commission Bill on May 25.
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, who confirmed this at the public hearing organised to gather views from the public about the bill, stated that the main objective of creating the commission was to produce a platform through which Nigeria could generate funds to rebuild communities destroyed by insurgents.
Sidi said: “It is not correct that the Federal Government does not have a plan for repentant sect members. The government has set up the safe corridor programme. I do know that over 800 sect members have been registered in it.
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“They have exited the Boko Haram through the programme, in line with international best practice. They are currently involved in various skills acquisition programmes, which is being handled by the military. It is being monitored by the Chief of Defence Staff,” he said, while responding to a request on amnesty package for the sect.
He added that the restoration of formal education, sustainable agriculture, paternalism, infrastructural reconstruction, environmental protection and remediation should constitute the key focal areas of the North East Development Commission.
Alhaji Sidi was responding to the comment of a former member of the House of Representatives, Kaka Kyari Gujbawu, who canvassed general amnesty for returning Boko Haram insurgents.
Gujbawu had in his presentation at the event said that the NEDC Bill should include amnesty for repentant Boko Haram insurgents because most of them were conscripted and forced to become members.
He said a second chance to live normal life should be given to the repentant insurgents.Gujbawu also advocated that provision should be made for Civilian Joint Task Force members who he said were used and dumped.
Gujbawu added that integration in form of employment should be evolved for the Civilian JTF members who he said helped to push out Boko Haram insurgents from Maiduguri.
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