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Zulum defends Boko Haram members’ reintegration

The Punch logo The Punch 25/08/2021 The Punch

THE Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has said over 2,600 insurgents who surrendered are in custody but said not all of them are criminals.

He also noted that over 100,000 people have been killed by terrorists in the North East alone over the 12-year-long conflict.

In this photo released by the Borno State government House, Recently freed Chibok School girl and her daughter, left, is welcomed by Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, centre, in Maiduguri Nigeria. Seven years after Boko Haram extremists abducted more than 270 schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria, two of the more than 100 still being held by the rebels returned this month, renewing the hope of parents who have all but given up on the long wait for the return of their children. Some of the affected parents said they remain hopeful that they will reunite with their children in Borno State, where the Boko Haram insurgency has lasted for more than a decade. (Borno State House via AP) © ASSOCIATED PRESS In this photo released by the Borno State government House, Recently freed Chibok School girl and her daughter, left, is welcomed by Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, centre, in Maiduguri Nigeria. Seven years after Boko Haram extremists abducted more than 270 schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria, two of the more than 100 still being held by the rebels returned this month, renewing the hope of parents who have all but given up on the long wait for the return of their children. Some of the affected parents said they remain hopeful that they will reunite with their children in Borno State, where the Boko Haram insurgency has lasted for more than a decade. (Borno State House via AP)

Zulum said this while briefing State House Correspondents after a meeting with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.

He explained that many of those who surrendered were women and children who were forced to join the insurgents. He noted that many of them were trained to wield AK-47 rifles adding that they will be treated in accordance with the law of the land.

The governor, however, said those who surrendered will be trained for reintegration, saying, “No law recommends the killing of insurgents who willingly turned themselves in.”

He equally assured that the government would do everything within its powers to cater for victims adding, “They will not be left behind.”

Zulum said, “I came to brief Mr President over the ongoing surrender by insurgents. I think, to me, and the greater majority of people of Borno State, this is a very good development.

“In the last 12 years, thousands of lives were lost, people have completely lost their means of livelihood. We have a total number of over 50,000 orphans and widows; these are official figures.

“The unofficial figures are more than this, and we were able to cultivate not more than three per cent of our total arable land because of the insurgency and right now, the whereabouts of not less than 10 percent of people of Borno State is not known to all of us at all.

“This is a very serious matter and I think the report of the surrendering of the insurgents, to me in particular and to the greater people of Borno State, is a very welcome development. Unless we want to continue with an endless war, I see no reason why we should reject those that are willing to surrender.”

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