A total of 559 repentant Boko Haram members have graduated from the federal government’s de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration (DRR) programme.

The DRR programme was established by the federal government in 2015 to deradicalise and reintegrate the ex-Boko Haram fighters into society.

The repentant members, who wore white attire with green caps, each swore an oath of allegiance to the federal government of Nigeria during the event which was held on Sunday, in Gombe state.

Speaking at the event, Joseph Maina, coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, said over a thousand ex-Boko Haram fighters have graduated from the programme and reintegrated into society.

Maina said the graduating class arrived at the DRR camp between July 15 and September 6, 2021.

He said the repentant fighters went through various rebuilding activities of the programme and had successfully undergone a series of medical screening, psychological and psychospiritual counselling, sports therapy, drug abuse counselling, western education and vocational training.

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“Since September 2015, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari established the Operation Safe Corridor to encourage willing and repentant Boko Haram members to surrender and go through a well-structured rehabilitation and deradicalisation and reintegration programmes,” he said.

“This programme began effectively in 2016 by the committee constituted by the chief of defence staff to operationalise the mandate of the commander in chief.

“Consequently, personnel were drawn from the 17 services, ministries, departments and agencies to execute the concept of operation. Since the DRR camp became fully operational, a total of 1070 ex-combatants have successfully gone through the programme and have been reintegrated into society.

“This morning, another set of 559 class will be graduating from the programme and they too will be reintegrated back into their community subsequently.”

Adeyemi Yekini, a major-general who represented Lucky Irabor, chief of defence staff, asked the repentant Boko Haram members to appreciate and reciprocate the confidence reposed in them as “worthy beneficiaries of our DDR programme”.

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“As you turn to your communities for your integration stage, I urge you all to brace up for the challenges ahead,” Yekini said.

“Some of you will encounter resentment and rejections in your communities but I can assure you, if you remember and practise everything you have learnt during the DRR programme, you will surmount these challenges.

“I urge you to go out there and be worthy ambassadors of Operation Safe Corridor by being law-abiding and responsible citizens.

“Finally, I want to remind you of the consequences of violating the oath of allegiance you have sworn. You must uphold the pledge to be loyal to the federal government at all times and shun all forms of violence and criminality.”

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