As part of their reintegration into society, repentant Boko Haram members on Saturday helped in the cleaning of Maiduguri in the monthly sanitation exercise.
The members who were pictured wearing T-shirts seeking forgiveness were engaged in the exercise organised by Centre for Democracy Development (CDD), in collaboration with the Borno Government.
Speaking on the exercise, a Senior Research Fellow with CDD, Professor Mala Mustafa said that it would serve as a first step towards their community service in the nearest future.
“The rationale behind this exercise is for CDD to support the Borno State Government as part of preparatory work for the reintegration of the ex-combatants.
“We felt it’s imperative to change the narrative, particularly the negative perception about them among community members.
“We want to rebuild relationship and trust between those that surrendered and community members,” Mustafa said.
He explained that 400 of the repentant insurgents had been mobilised for the exercise with 50 of them participating this Saturday for a start in Maiduguri Hajj Camp that is housing over 12,000 of the repentants and thier families.
Mustafa said the exercise by the repentants would be gradually extended to some selected communities in Maiduguri and its environment.
According to him, the repentants have been provided some training, particularly on civic education on how to deal with the challenges of stereotyping, while some Islamic clerics handled them on extremism.
Also, the Special Adviser to Governor Babagana Zulum on Security, Abdullahi Ishaq, lauded the Initiative by CDD which he said had been supporting the reintegration process.
“CDD provided the equipment for this exercise and has been providing us with technical advice as good partners,” Ishaq said.
He noted that the “Sulhu Alheri” initiative taken by government after years of the insurgency, had led to unprecedented number of insurgents surrendering which led to improved peace in affected areas of Borno.
He said Borno is now more peaceful than Maiduguri.