The Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor, has said the Nigerian Military has no plan to absorb repentant Boko Haram fighters into military.
He also disclosed that contrary to speculations, there was no plan to absorb them into the military or other security agencies in the country. According to him, the over 1,000 former Boko Haram fighters can never be recruited due to stringent safeguards in place in the various security agencies.
General Irabor made known to pressmen during the opening ceremony of the Operation Safe Corridor stakeholders’ meeting held at the Defence Headquarters, Abuja. The event was meant to work out modalities for transferring rehabilitated clients to their state governments.
Gen Irabor who was ably represented by the Chief of Defence Logistics, Major General Adeyemi Yekini, said so far that 1000 clients including 16 foreign nationals have graduated from the Deradicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration programme of OPSC and have been reintegrated. He also added that a total of 559 new clients were currently going through the DRR programme in Gombe State.
Gen Irabor also used the medium to reiterate saying, “Let me at this juncture state that OPSC is not a purely military operation, as some have suggested. The OPSC is a peace-building effort and its essential duties are carried out by relevant MDAS with the necessary expertise.
“The military and other security and law enforcement agencies are involved to the extent of creating an enabling environment and leadership for the DRR Programme to function efficiently.
“There have also been concerns that OPSC graduates are being recruited by the military and paramilitary agencies.
“I wish to clearly dispute this assertion and reassure Nigerians that none of the over 1,000 rehabilitated Nigerians from OPSC DRR has been recruited and will never be recruited into the Nigerian Military or sister security services due to stringent safeguards in place to prevent such recruitment.
“I am particularly enthralled to note that OPSC has continued to improve its programs principles, practices and procedures over the years. Today, this initiative has become a model that has been replicated in all the Lake Chad Basin Countries. It has also elicited the interest of both local and international bodies including academia.
“The DRR Program consists of psychological humanitarian treatments that reassure and provide alternatives to low-profile combatants through psycho-social/psycho-spiritual therapies, recreations, vocational training, and introductory western education, thereby countering BHT/ISWAP ideologies and reducing their recruitment drive while depleting the critical mass of their fighting force,” he added.