The Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Mathew Kukah, has said that the Federal Government seems more committed to rehabilitating “so-called” repentant terrorists than freeing children and others they abducted.
The social critics said this in his Easter message delivered at a mass service on Sunday in Sokoto, Sokoto State.
Kukah said when the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government announced the purchase of sophisticated weapons for the fight against the terrorists, hope had risen that the fight against insurgence was over, adding that Nigerians do not doubt the capacity of the military to so do.
He, however, said the military cannot go beyond the body language of the Commander-in-Chief, President Buhari.
He said: “With the news of the purchase of new sophisticated weapons, we hoped that the President and the military would quickly roll out a strategy for rooting out this cancer that had afflicted our country.
“The general feeling was that the military had the capacity to end this tragedy.
“In reality, the military cannot fire beyond the radar set by their Commander-in-Chief.
“If the President can end this tragedy, he would immediately get the support of all citizens and hopefully leave office with his head held high.”
Kukah, however, said rather than the newly-acquired weapon resolving the insurgency battle, there were increased cases of kidnapping, banditry and other criminality, advising Buhari “to concede that it was within his powers to decide how we are going to end the war that had engulfed and was tearing down our nation”.
He added: “It seems that the Federal Government had shown far greater commitment to integrating so-called repentant terrorists than getting our children back from kidnappers or keeping our universities open.
“Earlier last month, Operation Safe Corridor announced that it had graduated 599 members of various terrorist groups who had acquired new skills and were now ready to be integrated into society.
“The total comes to over a thousand now.
“It is plausible to note that the programme involved psychosocial support, rehabilitation, vocational training, skill acquisition and start-ups.
“The larger issue is that their various communities had expressed their reluctance to receive their erring sons back.
“As a priest, I cannot be against a repentant sinner or criminals changing their ways.
“After all, the doors of forgiveness must always remain open.
“However, in this case, Nigerians have very little information as to the entire rehabilitation processes.”