Don’t treat repentant Boko Haram fighters as newly found brothers, Archbishop Kaigama warns Buhari

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The Catholic Archbishop of the Abuja Archdiocese, Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has cautioned the Federal Government against treating surrendered Boko Haram/ISWAP fighters as “newly found brothers”.

He said on Sunday in Abuja that though, the surrendering terrorists can be forgiven, the government must ensure that justice is done in the circumstances to ensure deterrence.

“We must not forget that Boko Haram insurgents have killed and maimed many especially in North-East Nigeria, even as many others have been left homeless and without means of livelihood.

“Consequently, we must be mindful of what could turn out to be a trojan horse. Remember the hollow wooden statue of a horse, in which the Greeks were said to have concealed themselves to enter Troy during the war.

“A typical example of how dangerous the massive surrender of the insurgents could turn out if not properly handled or reviewed is already happening in Afghanistan with Taliban taking over the country after withdrawal of the United States troops,” Kaigama said.

According to him, while it is understandable that not everything can be made public for security reasons; however, community acceptance is of essence in this instance.

He also said that it is important to understand the gaps that allowed previously rehabilitated insurgents to escape or act as spies.

He said, “We must choose between continuation of a decade-long insurgency that continues to claims lives or forgive and work towards rebuilding our lost glories.

“It has been well said that, ‘the greatest injustice is to seem just and not be so’. The Federal Government should not be seen to be handling the Boko Haram debacle with kid gloves whereas visiting with the full might of its power on people with similar agitations in other parts of the country.”

Kaigama also warned that the programme of reintegration must not suffer the fate of mismanaged opportunities but properly guided by social welfare officials, and other core stakeholders and should not be “business as usual”.

He added, “Religious organizations such as MURIC, CAN, IJN, should transcend sentimentalism, by not always favouring groups that belong to their constituency, but failing to objectively and concretely defend others not belonging to them. What we hear often are antagonistic statements, finger pointing and demonization of the others.”