The Senator representing Borno South, Ali Ndume, has said some repentant Boko Haram insurgents “that have blood on their hands” must be investigated and prosecuted.
Recall that weeks ago, the media was agog with reports of repeated surrenders of Boko Haram terrorists to the Nigerian military. More than 2,000 terrorists were reported to have surrendered and branded ‘repentant’ by the Army, claiming adherence to international laws relating to ‘enemies willing to surrender’.
Some Nigerians have kicked against the de-radicalisation and rehabilitation initiative for the insurgents by the Nigerian army under the Safe Corridor programme.
Speaking on Saturday after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, in Abuja, Ndume maintained that the former insurgents cannot be let off the hook just because they have surrendered.
He said, “My stance on this has not changed, only that maybe people interpret it the way they want. There is a national law that should guide all these and there is international law that guides this because this is not the first time we’re having this sort of challenge in various countries,” Ndume said.
“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 on their hands, they should be appropriately prosecuted.
“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.”
Ndume, who is also the chairman of the Senate committee on the army, had earlier asked the army not to treat the repentant insurgents with kid gloves.