RE-SURRENDERED BOKO HARAM/ISWAP FIGHTERS. – Sa’ad I. Bello

In every armed conflict situation, management of civilians and non-state actors exposed to arms and ammunition is a requirement to sustainable peace, therefore it must not be treated lightly during the conflict or after. While crisis managers always encourage surrenders and round table discussions in bringing an end to armed conflict, procedures must be followed in dealing or handling those who claim to surrender or offer themselves for discussions to resolve the impasse.
The Nigerian security handling escapees and surrendered warlords or victims of crisis especially the extraction of the likes of members of Boko Haram or Islamic movement of Nigeria (Shi’a group) who seem to be deeply rooted in their doctrines or even bandits who enjoy the proceeds of their activities etc. The DDR procedure is one of the simple processes of assessing sincerity of surrender and putting mechanisms to achieve ful integration.

  1. Disarmament:* After surrender, their arms and ammunition too must be surrendered as the first step of engagement. The victims, escapees, or the so-called surrendered members of boko haram or bandits must be profiled adequately by experts and professionals in Disaster management, Peace building and Security personnel. The profiling will include classification into war commanders, clerics, field operators, support groups (logistics suppliers, cooks, informants), Persons with International contacts, Financiers etc. Experts in the field of Deradicalisation and other social workers, trauma handlers, plain cloth security personnel are required to engage each of these profiled groups in an appropriate camp. Reorientation on peaceful coexistence on reintegration with their communities and the communities too must be engaged to get information about their members who may be returning. This is to ascertain the depth of their involvement so that appropriate decision will be taken when they will be demobilised.
  2. DEMOBILISATION: Another important aspect of accepting warlords before reintegration into their communities is the proper demobilisation procedure. It should be noted here that not all captured, surrendered or even victims of armed conflict will be recommended for immediate reintegration into the society. Experts will determine who, when and where are those exposed to arms will be matured for reintegration. Those that are found to have committed serious crimes or unable to be radicalised may be handled differently and their reintegration delayed or denied. Government must commit resources to ensure that those recommended for reintegration are provided with correctional skills to ensure their livelihood is sustained. Members of their families they left behind must also be engaged, counselled and supported appropriately to prepare to forgive and accept the returnees to their communities.
  3. REINTEGRATION: Social workers, mental health experts and peace building experts including community leaders and youth groups must be fully accommodated at this level to ensure participation and ownership of the process of return. Options must be offered for reintegration into their communities, relocation to new communities of their choice even outside their state but with the consent of the host communities they intend to reside. They may be supported by philanthropist, NGOs, INGOs and government. Their children should be reintegrated in every social facets without segregation to access to education, health, social events, politics etc so that the suspicion of likely danger in integration may be avoided.
  4. PEACE BUILDING: The sustainability of the three processes above is only guaranteed through continuous discussions, dialogue, monitoring and evaluation of their activities after reintegration with the aim of arresting any unwanted behaviour, regrouping to continue with old habits or attempts at taking revenge by those who were inflicted by their actions in the past. The DDR process is a circle that no single agency of government can effectively handle alone. It’s recommended that as government is desirous of ending the general insecurity in the country, conscious efforts must be put in place to put a structure to be backed by law to ensure the establishment and take off of this special Committee to be christened PRESIDENTIAL COMMITTEE ON DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILISATION AND REINTEGRATION (DDR). This has been the International norms if we really want to get it right after ending the circle of violence in the country. This is only a synopsis of what is expected to be done if we really want to move away from the circle of crisis. Any cosmetic appearance to accept surrendered or captured insurgents, dissidents, bandits, separatist warlords etc may result in resurgence of another round of crisis in a short period.
    Academics and experts can make further contributions with the aim of reaching out to government either through conferences and position papers forwarded to the government.

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