Borno South Senator, Ali Ndume, has again, advised the federal and state governments to investigate repentant Boko Haram insurgents, most of who have surrendered before they are reintegrate into the society.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Senator Ndume said: “there is a national law that should guide all these and there’s international law that guides this. “Because this is not the first time we’re having this sort of challenge. In various countries and normally, when you get to war level, you are expected to either defeat the enemy, or the enemy surrenders.
“Once the enemy surrenders, you lose the right of summarily executing him because he is an enemy.
“You also don’t have the right to summarily declare him innocent and say, Oh, you have sinned, go and sin no more. What I’m saying initially, and I still maintain this position, in as much as we welcome the surrendering of the Boko Haram, it is very important that we follow the due process, according to the law of the land and the international law. That is to say, take them in, profile them, process them, investigate them, interrogate them and then those that are innocent, should be let go, and those that have blood in their hands, they should be appropriately prosecuted.”
Senator Ndume said that once the person surrenders, now, he has an advantage; “once you surrender, you cannot just be summarily convicted, you will be given the right to go to court and declare your innocence or otherwise. That is what I’m asking for.
“I’m also saying that as long as the war is continuing, it is now time to apply the carrot and stick approach; while we are prosecuting the war rigorously, in order to bring it to an end, a window is there available to tell those that are willing to surrender, that you can surrender and then you will be processed accordingly.
“After that defeat or after the war has come to an end and the window is there for them to surrender as they are surrendering in droves now, they should be processed, they should be investigated.
“We had sat down in Borno State last week, as stakeholders, to look at what were the suggestions or what were the ways that these people could, after surrendering, be managed according to the law.
“My governor is already here with the resolutions and communique we issued to discuss with Mr. President and very soon I think the federal government will come out with a clear way or maybe a better way that this would be managed.
“So, I still say that my position has not changed; saying people should be given the window or the corridor to come in and surrender and then they will be processed.”
Senator Ndume said that those who are surrendering may be bold enough to own up and “most of them will disclose those who were their sources or their sponsors, if any, and where are they getting the equipment or the arms and ammunition they have been using and they will be useful in providing information to our security agencies in order to finish the business at hand and that is winning the war.
“I think we are getting there because they themselves, had the number, the number coming up to surrender is always increasing. I know in Cameroun, over 1000 of them surrendered and most of them are Nigerians. The Borno State Government is making arrangement.
“As I said, the governor is on top of the situation, the people are carried along, even the victims are being carried along. For example, I’m a victim and my people are victims. It varies, the degree of the effect of the insurgency on us, but we as Nigerians, we as humans, we have sympathy, or we have the heart to easily forgive.
“It’s not the forgiving that is the problem, it is the issue of if you forgive somebody that has done something he horrendous like that, and you are not sure that he’s not coming back or see repentance and all that. Besides, as I said, if somebody has blood in his hand, and it’s not your blood, do you have the right to say, ‘go, you are forgiven?’
“In all these, there must be procedure and fortunately, there is an international law and the national law that should guide this and that’s why at the summit, I said that we as National Assembly members are lawmakers and whatever is required by law, in order to address this thing that is strange in our hand, then we’ll support the government to do that.”