…Says Terrorists Surrendering Is Best Choice

By Ndahi Inusa, Maiduguri

The wife of the Chief of Army Staff, CoAS, and National President of Nigerian Army Officers’Wives Association, NAOWA, Mrs. Mariya Abiodun Lagbaja, on Tuesday organized a sumptious lunch with hundreds of wives of repentant Boko Haram terrorists, internally displaced persons, IDPs, and other vulnerable women groups, who are currently undergoing rehabilitation at the Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Centre in Maiduguri, Borno State.

Recall that the Nigerian Army has claimed to have profiled over 80,000 repentant terrorists, including their wives and children, most of whom were camped at Hajj Camp in Maiduguri for over year now.

Addressing the women victims at the Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Centre, Mrs Lagbaja, who was in Maiduguri with her team for the ongoing week-long CoAS 2023 Conference, said each of the repentant terrorists and their families have taken the right step by distancing themselves from their previous lives and embraced peace, as
a new and bright future full of hope and aspirations awaits them after rehabilitation.

She said, “It is with a deep sense of hope and commitment that I stand before you today, on behalf of the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association, NAOWA, to address these resilient individuals gathered here at the Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Camp.

“This is a unique setting, where strength and determination link us as a community bound by the collective determination towards recovery, renewal, change and progress.

“I do acknowledge the challenges that each one of you has faced. However, it is during moments of adversity that the true strength of the human spirit shines brightest.

“NAOWA as an institution understands and appreciate the incredible resilience displayed by you all.

“The Nigerian Army Officers Wives Association, which is driven by a
passion for positive change, is committed to providing a helping hand
along your journey to recovery, which is in line with my vision of ‘Sustaining Legacies through Unwavering Commitment to Unity and Service for the Betterment of Humanity.’

“Let me also state that each of you have taken the right step to distance
yourselves from your previous lives and to embrace peace, as well as a new and bright future full of hope and aspirations.

“I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to the staff of the Bulumkutu Rehabilitation Camp for their dedication and resilience, with which they perform their duties.

“Their absolute commitment to this programme, is very instrumental to the successes that this programme has recorded over time.

“Additionally, I want you all to understand that rehabilitation is not the
end of a journey, but the beginning of a new chapter. As you embrace the opportunities provided by the Nigerian Army and the Borno State government at this camp, please always remember that you are not defined by your past but empowered by your future.

“The journey may be challenging, but it is one filled with potentials, growth, and the promise of a brighter tomorrow.

“Permit me to seize this opportunity to appreciate the executive governor of Borno State, Professor Babagana Zulum, for setting up this initiative. I want to also thank the good people of the state for supporting this programme by
being receptive and accommodating towards the beneficiaries, which
has contributed immensely to the success of the programme.

“This has massively enhanced the efforts of our military towards restoring peace to the North-East region of our dear country.

“Lastly I wish to state that NAOWA stands by its commitment to walk
with you every step of the way. Together, let us shape a future where resilience triumphs over adversity, where potentials are nurtured, and where the collective strength of a community paves the way for a brighter and more inclusive society.”

Earlier, in her welcome address, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Zuwaira Gambo, thanked the NAOWA President for not only visiting the camp, but also organizing lunch for the victims, which according to her, underscores Nigerian Army’s commitment in Civil Military Relations in the society.

Commending efforts of the Federal Government, the government of Borno State and the leadership of Governor Zulum, military and para-military apparatus and all stakeholders in the fight against terrorists, Mrs. Gambo explained that, the centre houses all categories of vulnerable women, mostly those who have gone through trauma, but were given psycho-social support as part of the rehabilitation process.

She also added that there are many unaccompanied children as well as those who were disconnected from their families, but were rescued during military operations in Sambisa Forests, shores of lake Chad, Mandara Mountains and are also taken care of in the camp, while others were engaged in various skills aquisition programmes such as tailoring, shoe making and cap knitting among others.

Highlights of NAOWA President’s visit to Borno include the commissioning of 25,000 litres industrial borehole and the ground breaking ceremony of skills acquisition and training Centre in 7 Division, Maimalari Military Cantonment, Maiduguri.


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