The Federal Government, yesterday, cautioned against spewing negative and false narratives around Boko Haram members who are surrendering to the Nigerian military in the insurgency-ravaged North East.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Washington, yesterday, berated those he said were alleging that the surrendered insurgents were not actual Boko Haram fighters and if they were, they should be shot rather than granted amnesty.
He described as “false and demoralising’’ the claim in certain quarters that the surrendered insurgents would be recruited into the Nigerian military.
Mohammed said that rather than changing the narratives, President Muhammadu Buhari and the military should be commended for their resourcefulness and doggedness in the fight against insurgency.
“The fact that we are witnessing insurgents submitting in droves calls for the commendation of our military for their doggedness. We must not forget that two months ago, Nigerians were putting pressure on the President to recruit mercenaries to fight the war against terror because they said we were losing the war.
“The President, however, remained focused and confident in his belief in the Nigerian military that they have what it takes to defeat the insurgents. We thank God that Mr. President today has been proven right. We were able to achieve this, largely because of the leadership of Mr. President in providing the wherewithal continually to the military and ensuring that their fighting morale is sustained by way of welfare packages,” he said.
The minister said it was unfortunate and inconceivable that some Nigerians would be going about with fake news that the surrendered insurgent would be absorbed into the military.
According to him, the call for the prosecution and killing of the repentant militants rather than granting them amnesty is against global best practices.
“I personally spoke to the military authority before I left Nigeria and they said what they were doing is what the global practice dictates about soldiers that surrendered that should be treated as prisoners of war.
“You cannot just shoot them because there are international conventions that give rights also to prisoners of war. What the military is doing is that, when they surrender, they profile them to ensure that they are genuine and reintegrate them into the society,” he explained.