By Sadiq Umar – About 275 detainees suspected to be members of dreaded Boko Haram were Friday cleared and released to the Borno State Government by a special anti-terrorists Force – Operation Lafiya Dole.
At the handling over, Commander of the Force, Major Gen. Hassan Umaru, told the State Governor, Kashim Shettima that those held by Army included 271 Nigerians and two nationals each of the republics of Cameroon and Niger.
“Today we are releasing 275 persons who have been in detention over suspicion of being involved in terrorism.
“‘Our crack team of joint investigators has screened and cleared the persons that are in the process of being released here today,” he said.
Gen. Umaru disclosed further that the detainees included 142 males, 49 females, 22 under aged and 50 children of cleared females.
He indicated they were being released in line with the principles of justice and fair play.
Umaru who expressed sadness over their detention, urged them to be law abiding and see their detention as sacrifice for peace.
”Their stay in detention had not been palatable due to restrictions imposed on them and loss of freedom.
“However, I see it as their sacrifice and contribution toward the return of peace in our country”.
Gen Umar confirmed “Eight cases that are criminal in nature will be transferred to the police for further action”.
“‘We wish to assure Nigerians that no individual will be unjustly or unduly incarcerated.
“‘We remained committed to the protection of fundamental Human rights of every citizen of Nigeria and foreigners alike”, added the Commandant.
While receiving them, Governor Shettima commended the military for a job well done.
“Today bears a sense of professionalism, justice, equity and fairness of the Nigerian Armed Forces.
“The 275 suspects were picked from several locations at different times and were adjudged to be clean after through investigations,” the Governor said.
‘”This action bears testimony to the fact that we are running a very professional force, contrary to insinuations from several quarters speculating arbitrary killings, detention and dehumanization of suspects.
“‘This is about the third or the fourth time we are receiving detainees to be reunited with their families,” he said.
“The Nigerian Army deserves special commendation for all the sacrifices it has been making for us to have peace in this part of the world.
“We want to urge the detainees to be worthy ambassadors to go back home and be the catalysts for promoting peace and development in our society.
“As a responsible government, we are going to give tokens to each of the detainees.
“Those that can be trained in vocational skills and other professions will be trained in specific professions.
“For those of school age, we will insist with the parents that they must have access to education.
“Education is a right and not a privilege and it is compulsory in this part of the world,” the Governor stressed.