Journalism of Courage

Bill to give repentant terrorists foreign education makes mockery of victims’ pain – SERAP

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to the Senate President Dr Ahmad Lawan, urging him to use his leadership position to “ensure that the bill that would allow ‘repentant Boko Haram terrorists’ opportunities to access public funds to enjoy foreign education is immediately dropped, and to sponsor bills that would ensure access to justice and reparation for the victims of Boko Haram terrorist group.”

 

“By calling Boko Haram members ‘ex-agitators’, the bill mocks the victims of appalling atrocities committed by the terrorist group, and is a blatant affront to victims’ dignity, said SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare.

‘Repentant Boko Haram terrorists’ are not ‘ex-agitators’; they are terrorists under Nigerian and international laws.”

“This bill erodes justice and makes a mockery of the suffering of victims, and the unspeakable human tragedy, humanitarian crisis and appalling atrocities committed by the Boko Haram terrorist group.”

“Boko Haram members should not be allowed to enjoy foreign education while over 13 million Nigerian children of school age are roaming our streets. Alleged perpetrators of gross violations should not get the benefits at the expense of these and other deserving children. Rather than allowing perpetrators to access public funds to enjoy foreign education, the Senate should be promoting reparation for victims, to prevent future criminality and ensure the best interest of justice.”

 

According to SERAP, “the bill, which has passed the first reading at the Senate would give opportunities to ‘repentant terrorists’ to receive foreign education including by accessing funds from the Universal Basic Education Commission, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund and subventions from the government.”

“The bill, sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Geideam, representing Yobe East, has passed the first reading in the Senate. Among the likely beneficiaries under the bill will be 25 Boko Haram members and their wives, who recently arrived in Maiduguri, the Borno State, after they reportedly surrendered to troops in Niger Republic.”

 

SERAP therefore urged Dr Lawal to urgently initiate four separate bills to ensure:

 

  1. adequate reparations for victims of Boko Haram atrocities;
  2. the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those much in need;
  3. access to free, inclusive and quality education to Nigerian children from socially and economically disadvantaged sectors of the population. Any such bill should remove school fees and charges to ensure all students can access school equally, and target financial support for girls at risk of dropping out through girls’ education strategies;
  4. accelerate effective prosecution of alleged repentant Boko Haram members and other members

 

 

 

 

 

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