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Is the Nigerian Military Recycling Boko Haram?

The military however held that its deradicalization programme for the insurgents has nothing to do with the recycling allegation.

Last week, the leader of the Federal Capital Territory Indigenes, Dalhatu Musa alleged that the Nigerian Military is recruiting some repented Boko Haram insurgents into the military.

However, the Nigerian military says de-radicalization of Boko Haram insurgents should not be misconceived to be a recycling of insurgency as the rehabilitation and reintegration is a federal government programme.

Dalhatu Musa Ezekiel-Leader FCT Indigenes

Dalhatu had in an exclusive interview with Rootstv Nigeria, said as a forensic psychologist, he had observed the pattern which the Nigerian military is purportedly recruiting the repentant Boko Haram insurgents into the military.

According to him,

“what the Nigeria Army is doing is recycling insurgency, they are simply recycling insurgency and my worries and my pain for Nigerian people is that we have docile leaders, docile leaders from different sections of this country. I’m a trained forensic psychologist; it is easier for you to rehabilitate somebody who is mentally retarded either as a result of drugs or any other factors. It’s easier to rehabilitate and redefine his mindset and make him a better person and re-engage him into society.

Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonishakin

However, the Nigerian military, through its Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu described as unfounded the claim by Dalhatu that repentant Boko Haram fighters are being recruited into the Nigerian Army.

He explained that apart from de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-Boko Haram insurgents, which is under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor as a non-kinetic operation, there was no such plan of recruiting repentant insurgents.

The DHQ also said only the 250 Boko Haram fighters who willingly surrendered to government troops that had been de-radicalised and reintegrated into the society “and are doing well in their respective communities”.

 “The Defence Headquarters wishes to unambiguously state that Balhatu’s claims are not only bereft of truth but laced with mediocrity emanating from poorly researched and uninformed position.”

 “Contrary to his claims, no Boko Haram ex-fighter has been recruited into the Nigerian military and no such plan is in the offing.

“The de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme is a Federal Government programme conducted under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor as a non-kinetic operation. The statement read.

Not the First Time

This is not the first time there will be insinuation of Boko Haram insurgents infiltrating the military, in 2016, the Department of State Services had hinted of plans by some members of the dreaded Boko Haram group to join the army.

According to the then spokesperson of the DSS, Tony Opuiyo, two members of the sect, who were specialists in the making of Improvised Explosive Devise were also nabbed before they succeeded in joining the army.

“In response to the regrouping of Boko Haram elements in Kano State, the Service in concert with the military, carried out coordinated operations in the state which led to the apprehension of two high profile members of the sect.

“They are Ibrahim Abubakar and Idris Audu. Audu is an IED specialist who was being groomed to penetrate security agencies in the country.

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“Audu had already perfected plans to seek for recruitment into the next recruitment scheme of the Nigeria Army, before his arrest.” The statement read.

Also in 2018, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) also raised a concern about a purported directive by the Federal Government to the Army and Police to recruit some former members of Boko Haram terrorists who underwent deradicalisation programme.

The President of CAN, Dr Samson Olasupo Ayokunle, said the purported plan is condemnable and could undermine the nation’s security system.’

In the last one decade, the Boko Haram insurgents have constituted a source of discomfort to the citizens and government who had continued to spend hugely to tame the scourge.

suspected Boko Haram Insurgents

While the allegation of their recruitment into the Nigerian Army is relatively new, the insurgents have been said to have adopted four major techniques to recruit their members.

According to Jacob Zenn, an analyst of African Affairs, financial incentives had been a major approach to recruiting the insurgents while others are recruited through kinship, inter-religious and government violence and radicalization.

Also in 2018, the Nigeria Army also ‘uncovered’ a Facebook and other social media accounts, allegedly used by a faction of the Boko Haram group to recruit new members.

The Army had said the insurgents, from Albarnawi faction, created the social media accounts with over 2,000 followers.

The army discovered this while interrogating a “highly placed  Boko Haram commander known as Malu-Mamman Barde’’, who was tracked and apprehended 40km South of Rann area in Kala-Balge Local Government Area of Borno.

  ‘Powerful Warning

With the strong allegation and counter allegation by Dalhatu and the Nigerian military, many Nigerians believe the issue of recruitment into the military should not be taken lightly.

“…here you have terrorists who have seen Nigerian military to be their number one enemies. People who have come out headlong to confront the Nigerian military, killing them and other innocent people. They will just go and say they have surrendered and then the next thing, Nigeria will still spend the taxpayers’ money instead of prosecuting them…they’re engaging them into the Nigerian military. If you are not seeing the danger I’m seeing it, if our leaders, docile leaders from different ethnic nationalities are not seeing the dangers that will befall us in the near future. I am putting it to them… I see myself as a leader in the near future and I will not be leading a country that will be in total chaos. Dalhatu had said in the exclusive interview with Rootstv Nigeria.