Detained Boko Haram suspects to be released in phases – Presidency
… CAN rejects sect members’ release
The Presidency on Wednesday made clarifications on the release of persons detained in connection with the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in a statement, said the suspects would be released in phases.
According to him, the first batch of suspects to be released would be women and children who were detained on suspicion of involvement or connection with insurgency in some parts of the country.
Okupe said the phased release of detainees was to encourage other insurgents who may wish to embrace the peace option to come out and take advantage of the dialogue and peace option.
“This would be followed by other phased releases where cases would be treated on their individual merits by the Defence authorities and security agencies,” Okupe added.
The President’s aide stated that President Goodluck Jonathan’s directive on the detained suspects was as a result of the interim report by the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peace in northern Nigeria.
The committee, he said, recommended the measure as part of government’s multi-faceted strategy to solving the security challenges posed by the activities of the Boko Haram sect.
“This directive by Mr. President further proves that the Federal Government has not foreclosed dialogue as a viable option in its bid to put an end to insurgency and terrorist activities in the northern part of the country.
“It is expected that this phased release of detainees would encourage those who wish to embrace the peace option to come out and take advantage of the dialogue and peace option provided by the committee put in place by government.”
Meanwhile, the Christian Association of Nigeria has opposed the planned release of the Boko Haram suspects from detention, saying government’s decision to free the suspects is like giving them the “license to carry out more suicide bombings.”
The body said “if those who deliberately killed innocent people are given freedom to walk the streets without punishment, then is clear indication that Nigerians have no nation.”
Addressing a press briefing at the NUJ House in Makurdi on Wednesday, the Chairman of the Benue State chapter of CAN, Bishop Yiman Orkwar, appealed to President Jonathan to withdraw his directive on the suspects’ release, saying such action would further escalate the security situation in the region.
He also condemned the recent killing of innocent farmers in the state by people he described as Fulani jihadist.