*3 Chadians, 1 Cameroonian among detainees
By Ibidapo Balogun
The Nigerian Army on Wednesday handed over four foreigners and 124 Nigerians detained in connection with membership of the Boko Haram terrorist group to Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State.
The handing ceremony, which took place at the Maimalari Contentment Maiduguri was performed by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, on Wednesday.
Buratai said the 128 persons comprising 109 men, 7 women, 11 under aged and one child were found innocent after thorough investigations jointly carried out by intelligence officers of the Army, police, Department of State Security and representatives of the Borno State Government.
Three Chadians and one Cameroonian were amongst the 128 freed detainees. All detainees were arrested at different points during military activities on suspicion of having dealings with the Boko Haram insurgents.
Receiving the freed suspects, Governor Kashim commended the Nigerian Army and other security agents operating in the state for respecting human rights and doing a thorough job in screening the detainees who were found innocent.
He particularly commended the Chief of Army staff for his determination to not only and insurgents in the North East but his effort to repositioning the Nigerian Army.
Governor Kashim charged the freed detainees not to fail the Nigerian Army and the State Government by getting involved in any illegal act especially given the fact that some of them might have come in contact with insurgents at some points of detention.
He emphasized that they should rather pray for peace to return to the state and the country as a whole.
He further informed them that a special team was expected to arrive Maiduguri from the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) to President Muhammadu Buhari which will interact and train the freed suspects on vocational skills in different fields desired by them.
He explained that the freed suspects would be empowered with start up tool so that they be self employed to enable them fully reintegrate into their respective communities.
Speaking before handing the freed suspected Boko Haram, Chief of Army staff, Lt. General Buratai said the NA in fulfillment of responsibility through its operation alongside other security agents and human right commission had found the suspected Boko Haram innocent and deemed it necessary to hand them over to the Borno State Government.
General Buratai informed the gathering that the task before the NA was to, among other things, defeat insurgents, restore peace in the state from local government to the state level and create an enabling environment for administrative stability.
He further said NA would do everything possible to maintain professionalism and respect the right of individual, hoping that the continued support and cooperation from the people of the state which is highly appreciated will be sustains.
High point of the occasion was presentation of clothing materials and undisclosed amount of money to the freed detainees by Governor Shettima who was assisted by his host, the Army Chief.
Shettima said the gift was a token pending training and empowerment of the freed suspects.