Yobe Senator says rehabilitating insurgents is an alternative to military option

Ibrahim Gaidam, senator representing Yobe east, says rehabilitating insurgents is an alternative to the military option in combating insecurity in the north-east.

A bill he introduced at the senate last week elicited debate among Nigerians. Gaidam’s bill seeks legal backing to rehabilitate insurgents.

The Nation Newspaper reports that Senator Gaidam was Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Monday, the former governor said many insurgents are willing to repent.

“In view of the fact that the Boko Haram insurgency is becoming increasingly aggressive since its inception in 2009, marked by extreme brutality and explicit targeting of civilians – it has become necessary for us to go back to the drawing board and adopt an alternative approach, in addition to the military option which has so far performed significantly well,” the senator was quoted by The Nation as saying.

“There is no doubt that many members of the insurgents’ group have defected and many more are willing to repent given a window of opportunity and this is confirmed by many organizations including NGO’s that have unalloyed access to the Boko Haram.

“There is the need for a more strategic and comprehensive approach to entice those members of the group who, after realizing the futility of the course they are pursuing have eventually decided to voluntarily lay down their arms and chose the path of peace.”

Gaidam said the bill provides that insurgents who are captured “in the battlefields will be required to, in addition to the psychological therapy, participate in the criminal justice process”.

The senator added that the federal government needs to have “both preventive and corrective measures in addressing violent extremism”.

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