SENATORS have given their approval to a bill that will establish a federal agency that will rehabilitate repentant Boko Haram fighters who lay down their arms after the proposal passed its first reading on the floor of the National Assembly today.
Earlier today, a bill tagged National Agency for Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents in Nigeria was presented before the house by Senator Ibrahim Gaidam. Representing the Yobe East Senatorial District, Senator Gaidam is the former governor of Yobe State, one of the states in the northeast that has been plagued by the Boko Haram insurgency.
His bill, passed its first reading on the floor of the senate at a session plenary presided over by the deputy senate president Senator Ovie Omo-Agege. Although the full detail of the bill are not yet clear, excerpts indicate that it would create an administrative structure to deal with repentant Boko Haram insurgents and other criminal elements willing to surrender and be re-absorbed into society.
Already, there is a Northeast Development Commission, which aims to rebuild areas of the northeast devastated by the insurgency and it is believed that this new one will work alongside it. Last month, the government released about 1,400 Boko Haram fighters who had surrendered, although the move has been heavily criticised by the Nigerian public.