Nigeria turns to experts in Boko Haram rehab programme

People walk past a telecom mast brought down by Boko Haram Islamists in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, on February 15, 2017. PHOTO | FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR | AFP
People walk past a telecom mast brought down by Boko Haram Islamists in Borno State, northeast Nigeria, on February 15, 2017. PHOTO | FLORIAN PLAUCHEUR | AFP 

Nigeria has developed a specialised rehabilitation and de-radicalisation programme targeting convicted Boko Haram militia.

The West African nation has engaged Islamic scholars and expert psychologists and counsellors in the pioneer programme, a Nigerian envoy has said.

The deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Mr Samson Itegboje, disclosed the plan in a statement to the UN Security Council, saying more than 8,000 Boko Haram convicts would be trained.

In the statement released on Friday in Abuja, Mr Itegboje said the government is also intensifying efforts to help victims of the Islamic insurgents recover from their traumatic experiences.

“We are also working assiduously with the affected communities to design economic revitalisation programmes targeted at people most affected by terrorism and violent extremism,” he said.

The envoy added that the government has heightened efforts of securing the release of the remaining more than 100 schoolgirls abducted by the Islamist Boko Haram group in Chibok, northeast Nigeria, in 2014.

Eighty two Chibok girls, who were released in May this year, have been undergoing a special rehabilitation programme in the capital Abuja.

“Having regained their freedom, it is equally important that they regain their self-esteem and be assisted to return to their families and back to their schools.

“Furthermore, emergency teams of psycho-social counsellors and health professionals have been dispatched to the northeast to assist with the profiling of victims for appropriate therapies,” he said.

Last month, the government ordered its military chiefs to relocate to Maiduguri in the northeast and increase presence of troops in Borno State to intensify the war against Boko Haram.

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