Not less than 90 per cent of terrorist elements who repented from the life of crimes in Borno State have genuinely forsaken their past, Governor Babagana Zulum declared on Wednesday.
Zulum stated this while responding to questions from State House Correspondents after the inauguration of the Presidential Committee on the Repatriation, Return and Resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons by President Muhammadu Buhari.
His Kaduna counterpart, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, late 2021 argued that terrorists do not genuinely repent, advising they must be dealt with and eliminated.
However, Zulum whose State started receiving repentant elements from Boko Haram and ISWAP terrorist groups last year, said those that so far come out to surrender to the government have genuinely shown repentance.
According to him, most of the repentant terrorists are already giving the government the necessary support.
When asked if he was confident that the terrorists were truly repentant he said: “Hundred per cent confident. Yes. While no process is perfect in the entire world, so far, so good, the process has yielded positive results.
“I believe, over 90% of those that have surrendered, are doing well and have given the government the necessary support. They’re also calling their colleagues in the bush to come out and join the process of peacebuilding.”
On the inauguration of the committee to resettle the IDPs, he said: “Indeed, we are so much happy, especially those of us that are in the Northeast because thousands of people were displaced, some are taking refuge in the Republic of Chad, in the Republic of Niger, Cameroon.
“And this is the time that the Federal Government in collaboration with the State Governments of the North East, will facilitate the repatriation of the internally displaced persons that are living in our neighbouring countries to Nigeria.
“The committee is also to look into the management of the repentant Boko Haram members. So indeed, we are so grateful and the entire northeastern government will give maximum support to this committee.”
On if the refugees are ready to come back, he said: “They are over ready. They have been agitating for a return for the last two and a half years. But unfortunately, the enabling environment has not been created for that return.
“But now that the Federal Government has acted when all the necessary resources and materials needed to ensure their return in a dignified manner will be provided by the Federal Government and we remain extremely grateful.”