The OSC (Operation Safe Corridor) is a counterterrorism and counterinsurgency programme aimed at rehabilitating ex-Boko Haram terrorists. The Buhari-led government initiated this approach in 2016.


In reaction to the programme, a retired colonel, Hassa Stan-Labo, stated, “If we have mobilised and brought them (terrorists) out for rehabilitation, it is already too late; there is nothing we can do but 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. 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?”


“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 had 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 stated.


A retired naval officer narrated, “We are talking of hard criminals who kill innocent people for a living and leave families deserted. They destroy people’s livelihoods and feel nothing. Why will a few months or years of programme deradicalise them? What was the government thinking when it said it wanted to reintegrate them back into society to live with the same people whom they had rendered homeless? The government needs to have a clear rethink. No terrorist should be treated with kid’s gloves.”


Mr. Mike Ejiofor, the former director of the Department of State Services, said the rehabilitation programme seems poorly thought out and ill-timed. He said, “The government has been releasing some of them under the notion that they have been de-radicalised. These same people will go back into society and start wreaking havoc. I think the government should reconsider its stance on the release of de-radicalised insurgents to avoid reintroducing criminals into society. You can’t continue to release them in the heat of the problems when none of the people that have been arrested have been successfully prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others. Since they are not prosecuted, they are not afraid of going back to their old ways.”


Their complaints boil down to these people posing a threat to society as well as the individual and state security of the country; hence, the importance of reconsidering their reintegration.



By Chidimma NWAFOR


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