Repentant insurgents: Lawan calls for caution, says some may not be genuine

Senate President Ahmad Lawan says Nigerians must be cautious in accepting Boko Haram insurgents who claim to have surrendered and are begging forgiveness.

Speaking with reporters after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa on Monday, Lawan said measures must be put in place to ensure that the repentant insurgents are “genuine”.

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) had said over 1,000 insurgents, including Boko Haram commanders and bomb experts, have surrendered to troops of operation Hadin Kai in the north-east.

Many have condemned the federal government’s move to rehabilitate and reintegrate the “repentant” insurgents back into society.

The senate president said the country needs a policy on how to deal with repentant criminals.

“We need to screen those who are genuine and those who may just follow in for some reasons, but I do not subscribe to the idea of saying forget about people who are surrendering, all of them are criminals and the rest of it,” he said.

“In the law of war or something, when somebody surrenders, you have something to surrender and of course, maybe you’ll do some profiling and find out whether this is someone who is genuine.

“I believe that we should give people the benefit of the doubt, but we should also be very circumspect on those who may not be genuine in this, but we should accept people when they come and take the appropriate measures, get the right strategies on how to deal with the reintegration of such people into the community.”

Lawan said the security situation in the country will be better before Buhari leaves office in 2023.

“Before this administration leaves by the grace of God in 2023, the security situation would have been stabilised, far better than what it is today,” he said.

The number three citizen added that the national assembly is working to ensure that sufficient funds are voted for security agencies and “legacy projects” in the 2022 budget.

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