The presidency yesterday spurned what it described as false reports that the Buhari administration was absorbing repentant Boko Haram terrorists into the military.
Presidential spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu in a statement said it was important for the public to know that nobody has ever been absorbed into the military from the de-radicalized Boko Haram sect and that there is no such plan for their absorption.
He said it became necessary to clarify at this time that “groups with hitherto proven bona fides, some religious leaders and a few in the legislature have joined the supply chain of fake news”.
According to him, none of the 601 former Boko Haram members who voluntarily laid down their arms, and recently graduated from the federal government’s de-radicalization and rehabilitation programme is going into the military.
He explained that this was the fourth such graduation of repentant Boko Haram fighters and not one of such graduates has been absorbed into the military.
He said, “The public needs to be reassured that the de-radicalization, 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.