Senator Ali Ndume has said that repentant members of the Boko Haram group should not be wholly set free but properly profiled, interrogated and those with blood hands should be appropriately made to face consequences as prescribed by international law.
Speaking to newsmen after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja at the weekend, the Chairman of Senate Committee on Army affirmed that the erstwhile insurgents could not be let go just because they have surrendered.
He said even though some of them may be innocent, especially those who may have been used as slaves and human shields, they must all be processed according to national and international laws.
He contended that since they have surrendered, they could not be summarily executed just as no one has to be let go without following due process.
Baring his mind on reintegrating the former insurgents into the Borno society, Ndume said: “My stance on this has not changed, only that maybe people interpret it the way they want. There are national and international laws that should guide all these. This is not the first time we’re having this sort of challenge in various countries.
“Normally, when you get to war level, you are expected to either defeat the enemy, or the enemy surrenders. Once the enemy surrenders, you lose the right of summarily executing him because he is an enemy. You also don’t have the right to summarily declare him innocent and say, ‘Oh, you have sinned, go and sin no more.’
“What I’m saying is that, in as much as we welcome the surrendering of Boko Haram members, it is very important that we follow the due process, according to the law of the land and the international law. We sat down in Borno State last week, as stakeholders, to look at the suggestions on how people surrendering could be managed according to the law.”
Senator Ndume pointed out that following the resolutions reached by the stakeholders, the federal government will soon come out with a definite position on the best way to manage the issue of the surrendering insurgents.
He advised that those who still want to surrender should be given a window of opportunity to do so. On whether information can be extracted from those surrendering for use in ending the war, he said: “That is why I say they ought to be processed. The Nigerian intelligence services are capable of obtaining the necessary information from those in custody. That is what the intelligence agencies are trained to do.
“The priorities should be; one, end the war, two, resettle the victims, then process, interrogate and investigate or prosecute. This is what we are saying that there should be no hurry in it. Once they are taken in, they should be kept somewhere, so that it will give space for interrogation and investigation,” he said.
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