The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Most Rev (Dr) Ignatius Kaigama, has charged the Federal government on the need to apply caution in dealing with “repentant” Boko Haram fighters.
Archbishop Kaigama gave the charge while reacting to the position of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC), that repentant insurgents should be treated as “newly found friends”.
TheFact Nigeria reports that the federal government had granted amnesty to repentant Boko Haram members. Already, about 1000 Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) had surrendered their arms to the government.
no fewer than 1,000 Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa Province (a Boko Haram offshoot) members had laid down their arms and surrendered to the troops.
While recognising the fact that God forgives sinners, who genuinely seek his face, His Grace feared that the development may be a case of the “Trojan Horse”, as aptly captured in Greek mythology.
“But it will be very difficult if not impossible for us to reintegrate the repentant insurgents into our destroyed communities. …
“It is easy to forgive for the destruction of many lives and property, but difficult to forget the wanton loss of lives in the various communities of my Chiefdom”, Kaigama said.
While quoting the Shehu of Borno as saying, “Many people were killed along with their property for 12 years. And you people and the media expect us to forget and forgive the repentant terrorists”, the Archbishop of Abuja noted thus: “We must not forget that Boko Haram insurgents have killed and maimed many especially in North-East Nigeria, even as many others have been left homeless and without means of livelihood”.
He, therefore, proferred the following: “We must be mindful of what could turn out to be a trojan horse. Remember the hollow wooden statue of a horse, in which the Greeks were said to have concealed themselves to enter Troy during the war.
“A typical example of how dangerous the massive surrender of the insurgents could turn out if not properly handled or reviewed is already happening in Afghanistan with Taliban taking over the country after withdrawal of the United States troops. It is understandable that not everything can be made public for security reasons; however, community acceptance is of essence in this instance. We need to understand the gaps that allowed previously rehabilitated insurgents to escape or act as spies.
“Another critical factor is to understand the true reasons behind the massive surrender this time. Various stories have emerged in this regard, nevertheless, the official one is that they are running from the heavy military artillery bombardment to save their lives.
“Meanwhile, the possibility of extreme hunger especially in this raining season and the reality of the recent internal conflicts that resulted in the killing of Shekau and the victory of killing top commanders by the Nigerian Army are evidently possible critical factors in the massive surrender”.