How to treat repentant Boko Haram members

After the death of the dreaded leader of Boko Haram, Abubakar Shekau, Nigerian troops record unprecedented victory in the decade-long war against the extremists. This feat forced thousands of Boko Haram insurgents to down their weapons and surrender to the Nigerian military. The prevalent surrender of this militias seems to have put the government in dilemma.

Evidently, Borno state governor, Professor Babagana Zulum, made an issue of it. It is a no-brainer for the Nigerian government to seek the services of those with efficient knowledge of human behaviour (sociologists and psychologists) in managing and controlling those repentant Boko Haram members, which is the easiest and obvious solution.

The surrendered militias must not be used as political tools. It’s obvious that most of them were brainwashed by some dubious elements into thinking they were in the service of God (Jihad). This makes their reorientation a daunting task that demands sincerity of purpose and absolute commitment.

However, the surrendered members of terrorist sect require more than what the government used to put them through in the name of rehabilitation.

It’s not news that many a times surrendered terrorists were found to return to their rackets of terrorism in the North-east, as a result of government’s failure to hire sociologists to help them to be able to live a normal life once again in the society.

A sociologist can prepare one for a lifetime change by developing one’s appreciation of diversity, love of learning, writing and study skills, and knowledge base about human behaviour, social organisation, culture, and social change. The role of the sociologist is to determine the way a society is organised around power structures, groups and individuals.

In the same vein, sociologists conduct scientific studies of behaviour and brain function. They observe, interview, and survey individuals. They identify psychological, emotional, behavioural or organisational issues and diagnose disorders.

The repentant terrorists also need the services of the aforesaid professionals more than anything else. It will be a kind of political correctness if the government considers giving this approach a shot.

By the way, the dwellers around those repentant militias should be admonished to desist from nursing the idea of reciprocal harming in the name of revenging their lost relations. For this, they need to be reminded that Allah forgives and loves those that forgive. So also, our religion teaches us to not take laws in our hands.

Finally, if the authority concerned can take heed to the aforementioned measures, it would help in shaping the behaviours of the surrendering terrorists.

Mallam Musbahu Magayaki,
Sabon Fegi, Azare,
Bauchi state
[email protected]