Some former members of the Boko Haram sect yesterday appealed to terrorists still in the bush, to lay down their arms and embrace peace.
Ten leaders of two camps of the sect described as commanders, who have surrendered to the army were paraded yesterday by the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, at a news conference in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
Gen. Irabor said so far, over 1,400 people had been rescued by the military during counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast.
He said the repentant sect members would undergo a deradicalisation programme to enable them become responsible citizens.
“We are doing our part to see that this madness is reduced to the barest minimum,”the commander said.
Gen. Irabor said the commanders, who said they had repented, were arrested in various locations in Borno and Adamawa states.
Four of the suspects were from the Mamman Nur Camp. The remaining six were from the Abubakar Shekau group.
One of the members, Joseph David, who said he was named Ibrahim Alhaji after he joined Boko Haram, regretted joining the group, adding that his aspirations were far from what he saw.
Joseph, who was paraded along with the nine others, urged his friends not to be afraid of being killed by troops after surrendering.
He added that many of his friends had already been poisoned by the teaching of the sect and were afraid to surrender.
“I am calling on my friends in the bush to come out and live a better life from what they are doing in the bush now. I never knew that what we were told is not true. Some of them are afraid to come out because they think that they will be killed.
“What the Boko Haram is teaching people is far from religion. Both the Bible and the Qur’an did not say that if you kill somebody you will go to paradise. It is all lies. Please you people should come out and enjoy a better life in Nigeria. The army is taking good care of us. I didn’t know that the army would do this to us. Please come out and stop the killing; soldiers will not kill you,” Joseph said.
Another ex-Boko Haram Commander, Amiran Doki, said they were deceived by Nur, hence their decision to surrender.
Doki said: ”I thought Nur would come and surrender, but later we discovered that he did not surrender; then, we left. We left the Sambisa forest together with our Commander Mamman Nur. He promised us that he would surrender and apologise to Nigeria but we discovered that he didn’t do so. That is why we decided to surrender to the military.”