The Nigerian Army on Saturday graduated 594 ex-Boko Haram members after undergoing six months Deradicalisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DRR) programme in Gombe State.
The graduation ceremony of the repentant terrorists took place at Malam Sidi camp in Kwami Local Government Area of the state.
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The Camp Commandant, Col. Uche Nnabuihe, said that out of the 594 who underwent the training, three were from Niger and one from Chad Republics.
Nnabuihe further said of the 590 Nigerians,15 were from Adamawa, 495 Borno,16 Kano, three Gombe, 16 from Yobe, 13 Kaduna, and one from Kogi.
Others include: 12 from Bauchi, five each from Jigawa and Katsina, four from Kebbi, two Zamfara and one each from Nasarawa and Plateau.
The commandant said six christians were among those who participated in the deradicalisation programme.
Nnabuihe explained that the ex-insurgents include Regular Batch 6, 2002 and Special Batch 4, 2002 clients that arrived the DRR camp between Sept. 3, 2022 and Oct. 8, 2022 for the mandatory programme.
“Upon arrival, the clients totaling 594 were subjected to comprehensive physical and medical test by a combined team of medical experts from the DRR camp and the Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe.
“The medical tests were aimed at ascertaining the health status of the clients towards providing proper and adequate care during the DRR training cycle,“ he said.
The commandant added that in line with the requirements of the programme, the clients’ biometric were captured by National Identity Management Commission, which will provide them national identity cards.
Nnabuihe said part of the programme included psycho-social and drug abuse interventions, recreational activities, introduction to western education and skills training.
“The clients were trained on certain vocations meant to equip them with skills for self-reliance after reintegration into their communities.
“In this regard, 85 clients were trained in barbing as a vocation, 81 clients trained on shoe making, 158 clients chose welding, while 213 clients selected tailoring.
“Also, 38 clients were trained in carpentry while 28 learnt skills in laundry services.”
He added that there was also a mandatory integrated farming activity in agro, poultry and fish, which all the clients participated.
Nnabuihe said that the clients voluntarily confessed their past, denounced their membership of Boko Haram and swore oath of allegiance to be loyal, obedient and responsible citizens.
The Commandant added that the repentant terrorists also promised not to rejoin the sect or any unlawful organisation.
Earlier, Maj.-Gen. Joseph Maina, Coordinator, Operation Safe Corridor (OSC), said the ex-insurgents were ready to be re-integrated into the society.
Maina said the Defence Headquarters and critical stakeholders had expanded the infrastructure in the camp and ensured continuous improvement in operations in line with best global practices.
“Efforts were made to expand some critical infrastructure in the camp.
“A 320-capacity bed hostel was constructed by the Defense Headquarters while the International Organisation for Migration built a 50-bed capacity hostel and expanded the operational training centre.
“Currently, the Federal Ministry of Justice is constructing 400-bed hostel which is expected to be completed in a couple of months.
“It is therefore envisaged that these projects would increase OSC capacity to process more clients when completed.”
He stated that the next set of clients to be admitted for the programme would be exposed to new vocations such as phone repairs, bakery and brick laying.
Maina appreciated the Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor, the OSC National Steering Committee, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, security agencies, Gombe State Government and implementing partners.