Following the Federal Government’s decision to release about 608 repentant Boko Haram members, the Military Widows Association, on Friday, came hard on government, saying the members of the dreaded group must face justice as they were not better than other criminals.
The association lamented that the number of soldiers being killed at the war front was increasing on a daily basis.
National Vice-President of association, Mrs Idith Opesanmi, who told newsmen in Abuja, said the widows feel bad about the decision, as their husbands went to fight the terrorists and keep dying, and some of the widows were young ladies.
Mrs Opesanmi, who is the widow of the late Colonel Johnson Opesanmi, said the terrorists should be made to pay for their crimes and not be given preferential treatment.
According to her, “They (terrorists) should face justice. You know they are involved in the killing and maiming of soldiers. So, whenever they are arrested, they should be punished like any other criminal.”
She explained that the Federal Government was trying to replicate the amnesty programme of the Niger Delta militants, adding that even the amnesty programme did not stop militancy.
Also speaking, a former Director at the Department of State Services, Mr Mike Ejiofor, said the time was not ripe for the government to release repentant terrorists.
According to him: “For me, the programme is not well-timed. You cannot be releasing Boko Haram suspects when the war is still ongoing. It is after the war has been fought and won that you can release those ones that have been rehabilitated and deradicalised,” he said.
“The so-called rehabilitation and release of Boko Haram members presumed to be repentant is a most ill-informed strategy. It should be suspended indefinitely. In my considered view, until the war ends, the suspension should remain.
“The suspension of the rehab-release strategy doesn’t undermine the process of deradicalisation or investigation into those wrongly detained with a view to releasing them. The idea of pandering to murderers and disregarding their victims must stop.”
It will be recalled that the military authorities recently announced that 608 more repentant Boko Haram insurgents are currently undergoing de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration otherwise known as DRR programme put together by the Operation Safe Corridor at Malam-Sidi, Gombe State.
About 1, 500 repentant Boko Haram members have been released by the military so far.