At least 500 former Boko Haram terrorists have been sent back to their home communities.
The former terrorists were released from the De-radicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration Camp in Mallam Sidi under Kwami Local Government Area of Gombe State after undergoing reformation for some time at the facility, according to Sahara Reporters.
The former insurgents, who passed out from the camp during a light ceremony over the weekend, had embraced the Nigerian Government’s amnesty to lay down arms in return for rehabilitation and reintegration back to society.
Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Lucky Irabor, who was represented at the occasion by Major-General Lambiri, admonished the graduates to exhibit a high sense of responsibility by obeying laid down rules and putting skills acquired during their time in the camp to good use.
During the rehabilitation period, the ex-Boko Haram members were exposed to different skills including tailoring, shoemaking, cap making, carpentry and laundry and are now expected to support themselves and their families by earning an income doing any of the jobs in their home communities.
“I don’t know if they’re given money or equipment but what I know is that during the rehabilitation, they were taught different skills like tailoring, shoemaking, cap making, carpentry, and laundry.
“The rehabilitation lasts until they are able to master a skill and accept the programme in its entirety. Some individuals adapt faster than others, so there’s no specific duration for the exercise.
“During the rehabilitation period, any individual that shows signs of not being interested in genuine reformation will be incarcerated and moved to Kuje Prison.
“There are still so many ex-Boko Haram fighters in the camp despite the huge number of them that graduated on Saturday.
“It is hoped that they will put the skills acquired at the camp to good use when they get to their various communities,” a worker at the rehabilitation centre told SaharaReporters.
In July 2020, 601 ex-Boko Haram terrorists including 14 foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad and Niger graduated from the camp after undergoing rehabilitation.
According to military authorities in Nigeria, more than 8,000 Boko Haram terrorists had so far surrendered to the troops of the Nigerian Army and benefitted from the de-radicalisation programme of the government.