The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has given a reason why repentant Biko Haram members cannot be prosecuted.
In recent weeks, no fewer than 1000 Boko Haram fighters and their families have handed themselves over to the Army in the southern Borno towns of Konduga, Bama, and Mafa. The repentant insurgents have gone on to be rehabilitated and reintegrated by the military.
This action has been condemned by many Nigerians who are of the opinion that instead of rehabilitation, the surrendered insurgents should be prosecuted for acts of terrorism.
However, in an interview with NAN in Washington, Mohammed explained why the repentant insurgents can’t be prosecuted. In his words
“I personally spoke to the military authority before I left Nigeria and they said what they were doing is what the global practice dictates about soldiers that surrendered that should be treated as prisoners of war.
You cannot just shoot them because there are international conventions that give rights also to prisoners of war
What the military is doing is that, when they surrender, they profile them to ensure that they are genuine and reintegrate them into the society,” he said
He applauded the military for the recent increase in the number of insurgents that are turning themselves in.
“The fact that we are witnessing insurgents submitting in droves calls for commendation of our military for their doggedness.
We must not forget that two months ago, Nigerians were putting pressure on the President to recruit mercenaries to fight the war against terror because they said we were losing the war.
The President, however, remained focused and confident in his belief in the Nigerian military that they have what it takes to defeat the insurgents.
We thank God that Mr President today has been proven right.
We were able to achieve this, largely because of the leadership of Mr President in providing the wherewithal continually to the military and ensuring that their fighting morale is sustained by way of welfare packages’’ he said