Zulum Opposes El-Rufai, Says 90% Repentant Terrorists Have Truly Surrendered

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Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum of Borno State, has said that 90 per cent of repentant Boko Haram terrorists have genuinely given up terrorism as a lifestyle.


Zulum revealed this to State House Correspondents on Wednesday shortly after  President Muhammadu Buhari inaugurated the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons in the North-East of Nigeria, which preceded the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.


His assertion is coming about six weeks after his Kaduna counterpart, Nasir El-Rufai, said there is no such thing as a repentant terrorist.


On December 21, 2021, The PUNCH reported that El-Rufai said that the term “repentant bandits” is a misnomer and does not exist.


The governor, who, at the time, spoke to State House Correspondents shortly after meeting with the President at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja, added that the goal of the Kaduna State Government is to kill bandits wherever they are found.


El-Rufai was in the Villa to brief the President on a recent attack on Kauran Fawa, Marke and Ruhiya of Idasu Ward of Giwa Local Government Area, Kaduna State, which left at least 40 people dead, said, “There is nothing like repentant terrorists. The only repentant bandit is the one that is dead. Our state intends to kill them (terrorists), let them go and see God.


Speaking on Wednesday, Zulum said, “I believe over 90 per cent of those that have surrendered are doing well and have given the government the necessary support. They’re also calling their colleagues in the bush to come out and join the process of peacebuilding.”


On the committee’s inauguration, he said “Indeed, we are so much happy, especially those of us that are in the Northeast because thousands of people were displaced, some are taking refuge in the Republic of Chad, in the Republic Niger, Cameroon.


“And this is the time that the federal government of Nigeria, in collaboration with the state government of the North East, will facilitate the repatriation of the internally displaced persons that are living in our neighbouring countries to Nigeria.


“The committee is also to look into the management of the repentant Boko Haram members. So indeed, we are so grateful, and the entire northeastern government will give maximum support to this committee.


“We will provide the necessary support to the federal government under the distinguished leadership of Mr President; we shall provide support to the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and the military to ensure that this process yields the desired result.”


Asked if the refugees are ready to return, Zulum said, “They are ever ready. They have been agitating for a return for the last two and a half years. But unfortunately, the enabling environment has not been created for that return.


“But now that the federal government has acted, all the necessary resources and materials needed to ensure their return in a dignified manner will be provided by the federal government, and we remain extremely grateful.”


On the collaboration between the Borno State Government and its neighbours, the governor said, “We have a forum that we call Northeastern governors forum. And then secondly, we are also collaborating very well with our neighbouring countries, especially Chad, Niger, Cameroon, we are doing very well, and I think this process will go smoothly.”


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