‘Prosecute them or free all arrested persons’ — Arewa forum speaks on repentant insurgents - SALIENT TIMES ONLINE


Tuesday, 17 August 2021

‘Prosecute them or free all arrested persons’ — Arewa forum speaks on repentant insurgents

By Our Correspondent

The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), a political and cultural group of northern leaders, has asked the federal government to prosecute repentant insurgents.

Over the past weeks, the Nigerian Army had taken custody of over 100 repentant insurgents who surrendered to troops in the north-east.

Some of the Boko Haram leaders who surrendered had also asked Nigerians for forgiveness.

But Audu Ogbe, a former minister of agriculture and chairman of the ACF, in a statement on Tuesday, said apology isn’t enough, adding that the motive of the insurgents is questionable.

“We are currently witnessing large scale surrender of large numbers of Boko Haram insurgents, among whom are bomb makers, commanders, arsonists, rapists, and child snatchers,” the statement reads.

“Do we have good reason to cheer and hope for an end to this decade-old insanity? Is ‘I am sorry’ enough to bring relief to Nigerians and the thousands of dead and maimed? What of those victims bombed in the churches, mosques, schools, and markets?

“What of all the men and women in uniform murdered by them? Who can count the thousands of widows and orphans they have created? And what is the difference between them and the Ighoho’s or ESN of Nigeria? None.

“So what do we do with them? Should we just embrace them and trust them wholesale? Are their moves informed by altruistic repentance? We seriously doubt.

“We join the Governor of Borno, The Shehu of Borno, Senator Ndume and millions of Nigerians in pondering over this development and our simple advice is: Bring them to trial, or free all others presently in custody anywhere, while we Nigerians plead guilty of naivety and gullibility in the extreme, punishable by more insurrection and anarchy.”