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You must accept reformed Boko Haram fighters, presidency tells north-east residents

The Federal Government of Nigeria has urged the residents of North Eastern part of the country to end the rejection of rehabilitated Boko Haram fighters.

This was contained in a statement issued on Wednesday by Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity.

More than 600 insurgents were said to have recently completed a de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration (DRR) programme, but residents of Borno had rejected the plan to reintegrate them into society.

However, according to the presidential spokesman, the programme doesnt cover hardened insurgents, and community leaders must work towards accepting the former Boko Haram fighters, or risk them taking up arms again.

This programme does not have a place for hard boiled, ideologically hardened terrorists. It only admits, after careful scrutiny, repentant fighters that were captured and forced to bear arms in the first instance, and there are many who have been drafted by force,” Shehu said.

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“At the point of their graduation, a determination is made that the former combatants have repented and are better citizens, imbued with genuine nationalism. They must no longer represent a danger to society or to themselves.

“Where they are certified as such, communities have the duty of accepting them. Unless they want them to take up arms and resume terrorism from which they have repented, community leaders must work with the relevant agencies to end their rejection.

“The Buhari administration is a responsible one and is conscious of its duty to the state and society, and to the victims of terror as well as to those who inflicted these pains and losses on our people.”

He also denied reports that some of the repented insurgents were drafted to serve in the army.

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