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Recyclying Terrorism: FG Takes Nigerians On Afghan ‘Road’, Pampers Boko Haram Terrorists With DSS Juicy Sulhu Scheme

Recyclying Terrorism: FG Takes Nigerians On Afghan ‘Road’, Pampers Boko Haram Terrorists With DSS Juicy Sulhu Scheme AUGUST 27 , 2021 | EAST...

Recyclying Terrorism: FG Takes Nigerians On Afghan ‘Road’, Pampers Boko Haram Terrorists With DSS Juicy Sulhu Scheme


Report By: Adelani Adepegba |

ADELANI ADEPEGBA writes that the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban should serve as a good lesson for Nigeria, which is currently pampering Boko Haram insurgents and bandits. In the past few days, the lightning takeover of Kabul by the Taliban, with the United States of America and its allies fleeing the Afghanistan capital with their tails in between their legs have headlined global news reports.

The Afghanistan armed forces personnel estimated at 186,000, with a budget of over $12bn, mostly from foreign aid, capitulated as the Islamists, said to number less than 100,000 fighters, took cities after cities in a blitzkrieg. Starting from August 6, the terrorists overran Zaranj, took over Sheberghan and seized Sar-epul, Kunduz, Taloqan, Aybak, Pul-e-khumri, Faizabad, Ghazni, Kandahar, Herat, Maymana, Jalabad and eventually, Kabul, the Afghan capital, on August 15.

President Ashraf Ghani did not bother to say goodbye to his long-suffering people as he fled to the United Arab Emirates with his family members, a few confidants and loads of cash. Reports say the seed of the defeat of the US-backed coalition was sowed ironically in the early 2000s when the Taliban was defeated. After laying down their arms, many of the fighters, it was learnt, were recruited into the army, where they continued working covertly for the Taliban.

During the time they were in the military, they were giving out vital intelligence to the terrorist movement; some of them also attacked and killed US troops in incidents tagged: Green on blue. Worried Nigerians are comparing the unfolding development in Afghanistan to the situation in their country, where the government is assimilating murderous Boko Haram insurgents into the society and paying them stipends in a bid to pacify them. There were reports that some of them had been recruited into the armed forces.

In the past weeks, over 1,000 insurgents have reportedly surrendered with news circulating that they would not be made to account for their reign of terror and bloodshed. This move to obtain peace without administering justice has been faulted by many Nigerians. The apprehension that Nigeria may go the way of Afghanistan is further heightened by the ongoing clandestine pacification of so-called repentant terrorists by the Department of State Services under a programme called, ‘Sulhu’, (peace-making in Arabic). The top secret programme is encouraging senior jihadist commanders to defect, while the government provides them with benefits, according to a report by The New Humanitarian.

The report said a former jihadist, who took part in the 2014 massacre of hundreds of people in Bama, Borno State, is now living free on the government’s payroll. The ex-militant and his wife, who once fought for Boko Haram and then with the breakaway ISWAP, were said to have been settled with a rent-free house in Kaduna, a business licence, and a small monthly stipend provided by the DSS. Under Sulhu, defectors are enrolled in a six-month “de-radicalisation” course in the military’s demobilisation and reintegration centre in Mallam Sidi, Gombe State. After promising to renounce violence and be good citizens, they are issued a graduation certificate signed by a high court judge – and some have then gone on to set up businesses, from cap-making to chicken-rearing. Those on the Sulhu initiative were said to be the turbaned trigger-happy killers.

Sulhu is run by the DSS and the military, but is separate from the army’s disarmament, demobilisation, and reintegration initiative, known as Operation Safe Corridor, which is targeted at low-risk former combatants. Citizens are worried that the Taliban strategy can also succeed in Nigeria, citing the opaque amnesty programmes being run by the regime of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.). Their fear was confirmed by the Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, who said, “Nigeria will not prosecute repentant terrorists, because there are international conventions that must be followed.”

Mohammed, in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Washington, United States, argued that calls for the prosecution and killing of the repentant militants, rather than granting them amnesty, were against global best practices. The minister stated, “I personally spoke to the military authorities before I left Nigeria and they said what they were doing is what the global practice dictates about soldiers that surrendered that should be treated as prisoners of war.

“You cannot just shoot them because there are international conventions that give rights also to prisoners of war. “What the military is doing is that when they surrender, they profile them to ensure that they are genuine and reintegrate them into the society.’’ The minister added that it was unfortunate and inconceivable that some Nigerians would be going about with fake news that the surrendered insurgents would be engaged by the military.

For a regime that court-martialled and demoted a former Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj Gen Olusegun Adeniyi; and also jailed about 66 soldiers for complaining about lack of weapons to fight the insurgents, the minister’s argument left many people wondering about the Buhari regime’s strange affection for the terrorists. Policy analysts have equally expressed concern over the President’s fixation with grazing reserves at the detriment of other national security issues.

The signs are evident that what happened in Afghanistan could take place in Nigeria. As was in Afghanistan, Islamist movements in Africa have flourished in countries where they have been able to capitalise on weak state institutions, a lack of social services and poverty. These factors led to the emergence of insurgents in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado region, and in West Africa.

In communities in Nigeria’s North-East, insurgents have stepped in to provide services and justice in communities, which has helped them to gain legitimacy and members. A critic, Deji Adeyanju said, “Afghanistan is staring us in the face and we don’t know it. Even in Afghanistan, the (former) government wasn’t granting the Taliban amnesty openly the way we are doing here. It’s a dire situation. “At the same time, Buhari is dealing with soldiers, who are demanding better weapons. Under this government, a critic was jailed in Adamawa for criticising the President and the governor there.

“The same government that killed protesters at Lekki tollgate is the one embracing and forgiving Boko Haram; the same government that cannot tolerate secession agitators and killed IPOB members, Sunday Igboho’s aides and Shi’ite members; the same government is pampering Boko Haram today. “Yes, we are on the way to Afghanistan and it’s going to be very bad, because terrorists don’t repent; they don’t change. They are only looking for ways to get closer to power so that they can hijack and destroy the country as is currently happening in Afghanistan.”

Adeyanju recalled a statement credited to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, that pardoned jihadists were responsible for the killing of a senior military officer in Borno last year. He added, “It is a situation that will not augur well for the country and eventually, the Buhari regime may want to hand over the country to Boko Haram, because that is what this suggests. The government must stop this romance with Boko Haram; you cannot forgive terrorists.

“In a country where critics have been jailed; there is no single terrorist on trial. The action of this government has serious implications for the sub-region and the continent. You can never hear that Chad or Cameroon is forgiving terrorists and reintegrating them into the society.” Retired Col Hassan Stan-Labo frowned on the amnesty for insurgents, saying it was an injustice for them to be pampered when the government had not offered any assistance to those in Internally Displaced Persons’ camps. He noted, “If we have mobilised and brought them (terrorists) out for rehabilitation, it is already too late; there is nothing we can do but to go the whole hog; go through the entire demobilisation, de-radicalisation and rehabilitation.

“However, if I were the commander-in-chief, my instructions would have been: ‘Don’t bring anybody for any damn rehabilitation; you bloody well will pay the price for whatever you have done on the battle front’. “You want a battle, come get the battle. You have committed all kinds of atrocities and now, you turn around begging for forgiveness. We don’t have a responsibility to forgive you; we hasten your journey to heaven. Go and meet God and ask for penance. What do we tell the people in the displaced persons camps, who are not even getting the kind of treatment we are giving these guys?”

Speaking on concerns that the insurgents might find their way into the military a few years down the line, and from inside weaken the armed forces just the way the Taliban successfully did in Afghanistan, Stan-Labo argued that a proper biometrics capture of the militants would ensure this did not happen. “We can have the biometrics of these guys and since fingerprints are used in the course of recruitment, we should be able to fish out those who may want to join the military. If we have a very effective intelligence network on the ground, this wouldn’t happen. I’m also aware that the Borno State Government is documenting their biometrics data. That’s a very good starting point,” he submitted.


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