Public and security affairs analysts have discussed the massive surrender of the Boko Haram insurgents and they have asserted that two-thirds of the people reported by the media to have surrendered are not Boko Haram members. Rather they are persons associated with armed bandits. The insurgents conquered their communities and refused them access to flee. Now, they have access to do so and they did. Others are still coming, according to experts.
There had been a lot of comments on the massive defection of the tagged Boko Haram members. Many people have started questioning the manner the media is reporting the surrender. Some of the questions raised by the public are: where are their weapons? Why mostly women and children? Although there are a few real insurgents among them, they remain negligible considering the total number of the surrendered insurgents, as the media reported. The media said more than 2000 had surrendered to the military. Some said that the media would have said persons associated with armed men rather than calling them surrendered Boko Haram members or saying insurgents are massively surrendering. Calling them Boko Haram is a misrepresentation and disinformation, according to some experts and social media influencers.
Many residents of Maiduguri are afraid that the so-called repentant insurgents may, at some point in time, capture the state capital from inside because they know that they cannot forcefully come into the state in a state of war. So, to others, the massive surrender could be a strategy adopted by them to spread their wings well in the different areas of the city and fulfill their ungodly desires after everyone has accepted them and forgiven them even though what they did to people is unforgettable, unforgivable, and unpardonable.
What if this thinking happens to be true? What would we say? What would the state and federal governments say to the citizenry? I pray that this thinking should just be mere thinking out of fear because of the nasty experiences almost everyone has gone through over the years of the insurgency.
The Nigerian government is not the first to start the reintegration of repentant terrorists. Many countries have done it but how they did it differs from how Nigeria is doing it now. To me, the whole process is wrongly initiated because the fight is ongoing, lives are lost every day, victims are angry with both the government and the terrorists–they are angry with the insurgents because they’ve lost everything to them. Some of them used to be millionaires but they have been reduced to beggars in life because they have lost their financial standing. I cry when I see some of them. It’s so hard for me to converse with some of them, they can’t hold on to patience because the pain is unbelievably unbearable—they are angry with the government because it still finds it difficult to end the insurgency so they could return to their ancestral homes and restart life in peace and tranquility.
I still cannot accept the fact the government has decided to start the reintegration of members of Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’way Wa’l-Jihād (JAS) commonly known as Boko Haram while the unrepentant ones are continuing to attack villages in remote areas within and outside Borno state.
Lawan Bukar Maigana,
Maiduguri, Borno state, Nigeria