…I am not aware of that, Army Spokesperson
The Army told the terrorist fighters that soldiers and the public are not happy with the killings in the North East general area.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 7 Division, Army, Brigadier General A A Eyitayo, made this plea at a feast organised for journalists on Sunday in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
General Eyitayo, who doubles as the commander of Sector 1, Operation Hadin Kai
, noted that the recent military onslaught against the insurgents, have dealt a decisive blow on the terrorists, leaving their remnants in disarray.
This was as he noted that the Nigerian military was not happy about the over the bloody insurgency, which has lasted about twelve years.
The GOC added that, if they accept the reconciliation overture, it would avail them (insurgents) the opportunity to enjoy rehabilitation and acquire skills to enable them live a useful life in society.
The Commander sector 1, also lauded the contributions of the media in the counter-insurgency campaign and urged the member of fourth estate of the realm to enlighten the insurgents to see the light and repent from their wasteful ventures.
“We are not here for bloodletting. Nobody is happy that people are dying. Some of them (insurgents) are listening to the media, so it is good for us to appeal to them through the media to shun violence, turn up to seek forgiveness and reconciliation,” the GOC explained.
He added that the feast with journalists was to show appreciation of the media reportage of military operations in the state.
“For the past three months since I assumed duty in Maiduguri in this capacity, there has never been any bad report.
This is to appreciate the media for positive reportage,” he said.
On his part, the Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), in Borno State, Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim, commended the GOC for carrying the media along and assured him of more support and cooperation.
Mr Mohammed also lauded the military and other security agencies involved in the fight against insurgency for their sacrifices.
He tasked the military not to relent in their effort, adding that North-East residents were behind them.
However, the Army said that it is not aware of the situation, noting that the GOC was expressing his opinion and not the position of the Nigerian Army.
The Director Army Public Relation, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima in a telephone chat with Nigerian Pilot said that the GOC is not the Chief of Army Staff and therefore his views cannot be translated as the position of the Nigerian Army.
“Who told you that? I am not aware of that? How can the views of the GOC be translated as the position of the Nigerian Army? What is the source of your story? I gave other important things to attend to, I am not here to confirm anything from your editor. Use your contact as a journalist to confirm from the GOC if he actually said that. I will look at it at my convinient and respond to it if necessary,” he said.
Recall that the Nigerian military had earlier in 2016, inaugurated an operation tagged Operation Safe Corridor to woe low risk repentant Boko Haram terrorists.
The main objective of the multi disciplinary operation was crested on three tripod of de-radicalizstion rehabilitation and reintegration of repentant low risk Boko Haram terrorists.
The programme had however, come under severe criticism.
Amongst the key political actors that had criticized the programme is the Chairman Senate Committee on Army, and Senator representing Borono South at the red chamber of the National Assembly, Senator Ali Ndume.
In year 2020, about 600 ex-Boko Haram members completed a de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration (DRR) programme in July.
But while speaking on a BBC Hausa service programme, the Chairman Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume asked the government to stop rehabilitating ex-insurgents because they would never repent.
“This government’s programme is unacceptable to our people. The right thing is to stop it, forthwith.
Not that they even apologised to you, they apologised to the government with the thinking that government has failed and that is why they are being pampered.
“They are like Kharajites. Many among those released have since run away. They will never repent. The government should know what to do about them. But not re-introducing someone to you, who has killed your parent, or your relations.
“If there is sincerity of purpose in this, those in the IDP camps should be trained in various trades and vocation so that they could start life again,’ the Senator concluded.