By Benjamin Idakwo
Coalition for Human Rights Monitoring Groups in Nigeria, CHRMGN, has debunked speculation that the Nigerian military recruited repentant Boko Haram terrorists into its fold.
The human rights group made the disclosure in a special report after embarking on a thorough investigation of the military’s recruitment process since 2015.
In the report signed by Helen Adeshina and Bitrus Hosea Damut, CHRMGN, said that 250 repentant Boko Haram fighters enrolled for the de-radicalization programme and were reabsorbed into their communities and not the military.
It further disclosed that 30 of the repentant Boko Haram fighters are fully engaged in religious activities aimed at discouraging the youths from going into crime and terrorist activities.
According to the group, the military’s recruitment process is transparent and devoid of interference from any quarters and as such there isn’t any room for ex-Boko Haram members.
The Coalition of Human Rights Monitoring Groups, however, urged the military to begin the process of informing the general public of its recruitment process.
“The Coalition of Human Rights Monitoring Groups, having extensively scrutinized the recruitments into the Nigerian Military from 2015 to date, concludes that the process has been transparent and devoid of interference from any quarters.
“It was also realized the no ex-Boko Haram members had been recruited into the Nigerian Military as no records are backing the allegations.
“The Nigerian Army and other arms of the armed forces have carried out its recruitment in the most transparent manner in line with both Federal Character Principles and due diligence to meet with the best international standard.
“There have been concerns that Boko Haram terrorists, who surrendered to troops and undergone de-radicalization programmes organized by the Nigerian Military, were allegedly being absorbed into the Military. Some media reports have also alleged that the Military was recycling insurgency by the alleged recruitment.
“The Nigerian Military had stated that the de-radicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration programme is a federal government programme conducted under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor as a non- kinetic operation.
“It further stated that the de-radicalization model is therefore not new in the global community, as such a model exists in Algeria, Colombia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, where persons involved in violent extremism have been de-radicalized and rehabilitated and that the process is, therefore, an internationally accepted practice.
“These allegations were indeed weighty and it necessitated a comprehensive scrutiny in the light of the prevailing circumstances.
“The Coalition of Human Rights Monitoring Groups consequently commissioned an investigative report to look into the allegations to put issues in proper perspective for the members of the unsuspecting general public in light of national interest”