Spread the love

We were forced to swear oath of secrecy over Boko Haram terrorists – Ex-govt official

The former official explained why Boko Haram insurgency thrives in Nigeria’s North-east.

A former Director the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Gavs Katiya, says he and officials of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) were usually forced to take the oath of secrecy before speaking with repented Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria’s north-east.

Mr Katiya, now retired, spoke when he appeared as a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday.

Established in 1986, the NDE is a federal agency responsible for tackling unemployment among Nigerian youths, mainly through skill acquisition programmes.

Ten of thousands have been killed and several others displaced since

Boko Haram fighters have killed tens of thousands of people and have led to the death of over 300,000 children since the insurgency began around 2009 in Nigeria’s north-east.

The then President Muhammadu Buhari, in March 2018, announced his administration’s readiness to accept the “unconditional laying down of arms by any member of the Boko Haram group”.

ALSO READ:  35 Cases Of COVID-19 Reported, Total 442, 152 Discharged, 13 deaths.

Former Boko Haram fighters, who have laid down their weapons and are willing to be assimilated into the society, are often referred to as “repented” Boko Haram fighters.

Why we were forced to take the oaths’

Mr Katiya, who hails from Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State, said he was deployed to the North-east before he retired from NDE.

The former director said the position afforded him, alongside officials of the NOA, the opportunity to interact with some repented Boko Haram fighters.

“The first batch of repented Boko Haram fighters – 95 of them – was brought to my office while I was still the director in NDE.

“So, I interfaced with them because the then Federal government asked us to talk to them, to train them to embrace skills,” he recalled.

ALSO READ:  2023: Jonathan Rejects APC Presidential Form

“Before we were allowed to talk to them, we had to take an oath that when you finished with them, you don’t have to say, ‘I saw this person. He’s one of the repented Boko Haram fighters,’” Mr Katiya said.

He did not give details about who directed them to take the oath.

The former director now coordinates the Gwoza Resettlement Initiative, a private organisation dedicated to resettling refugees displaced by terrorist attacks in Gwoza.

Gwoza, which is a border town between Nigeria and Cameroon, a central African country, made headlines recently when four female suicide bombers, suspected to be members of Boko Haram, killed over 20 people in the area on Saturday, 29 June.

Many residents join Boko Haram group to earn a living.’

Mr Katiya said the Boko Haram insurgency has been thriving in the North-east because “many” residents join the group as a means of livelihood.

ALSO READ:  Panic As Bandits Kill 42 In Fresh Zamfara Attack

“When the 95 repented Boko Haram fighters were brought to me, 70 of them were from Gwoza.

“There are some people who left my house to become Boko Haram fighters. They think this is an activity where you can get something,” he said.

“They have repented Boko Haram fighters who have that business mindset that insurgency is a means of livelihood.”

‘Not a normal practice’ – Expert

A security expert, Patrick Agbambu, told PREMIUM TIMES that although both “orthodox and unorthodox” methods could be adopted to achieve peace, forcing people to take the oath of secrecy is not a normal procedure in the security practice.

Mr Agbambu, who works in the insurgency-ravaged North-east, said he has had interactions with repented Boko Haram fighters but has not been forced to take such oaths before.

“It’s not a standard in security practice to involve strategies of making people swear,” he said.