The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Lucky Irabor, has dismissed reports that over 1,000 rehabilitated former Boko Haram fighters had been recruited into the military.
Speaking at Defence headquarters, Abuja, during the stakeholders’ meeting of OPSC, he said 559 ex-Boko Haram members were currently undergoing rehabilitation under a programme being handled by Operation Safe Corridor (OPSC) called Deradicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) in Gombe State
Irabor, represented by the Chief of Defence Training and Operations, Maj.-Gen. Adeyemi Yekini, said: “The DRR Programme consists of psychological humanitarian treatments that reassure and provide alternatives to low-profile combatants through psycho-social/psycho-spiritual therapies, recreations, vocational training, and introductory western education, thereby countering BHT/ISWAP ideologies and reducing their recruitment drive while depleting the critical mass of their fighting force.”
He said the approaches, practices, procedures, strategies, and tactics of the military in its counter-insurgency operation had continued to evolve to effectively tackle the amorphous nature of the threat.
He said the initial response was a single service operation limited to only the formations and units based in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
“However, as time passed, several task forces were formed, eventually leading to the formation of a Theatre Command with several components including a Naval Task Force and an Aviation Task Force to weaken the insurgents,” Irabor said.
Coordinator, OPSC, Brig.-Gen. Joseph Maina, said the OPSC had admitted over 1,070 clients comprising 1,064 Nigerians and 16 foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad and Niger since 2016.
“All the foreign clients were transferred to their respective national authorities for reintegration. Presently, there are 559 clients undergoing the programme in the camp, out of which two clients are Chadian citizens.
“It’s also important to mention that one client was repatriated to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital for expert psychiatric management during the initial documentation stages of the programme,” he said.