“All prisoners must be released if Boko Haram fighters are freed” — ACF to Buhari

The Arewa Consultative Forum, (ACF), has given President Muhammadu Buhari two options on whether or not repentant Boko Haram fighters should be freed or put on trial.

According to a statement issued to newsmen in Kaduna yesterday, the Forum’s National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said the Buhari government’s rehabilitation program is greatly flawed because it has failed to grant justice to victims of those being rehabilitated.

Ogbeh, a former minister, said the fact that members of the group claim to have repented, does not mean crimes were not committed, and for which they must be put on trial.

The statement noted: “We are currently witnessing the large-scale surrender of large numbers of Boko Haram insurgents, among whom are bomb makers, commanders, arsonists, rapists, and child-snatchers. Do we have good reason to cheer and hope for an end to this decade-old insanity?

“Is ‘I am sorry’ enough to bring relief to Nigerians and the thousands of dead and maimed? What of those victims bombed in the churches, mosques, schools, and markets?

“What of all the men and women in uniform murdered by them? Who can count the thousands of widows and orphans they have created? And what is the difference between them and the Ighoho’s or ESN of Nigeria? None.

“So, what do we do with them? Should we just embrace them and trust them wholesale? Are their moves informed by altruistic repentance? We seriously doubt it.

“We join the Governor of Borno, the Shehu of Borno, Senator Ndume and millions of Nigerians in pondering over this development and our simple advice is: Bring them to trial, or free all others presently in custody anywhere, while we Nigerians plead guilty of naivety and gullibility in the extreme, punishable by more insurrection and anarchy”.

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