from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – A CIVIL society organisation intends to sue the Nigerian government if it proceeds with plans to use taxpayers’ money and provide education for repentant Boko Haram members.
The uproar comes after a bill providing for the education of the reformed insurgents recently passed first reading at the Senate.
The proposed bill aims to establish what is to be called the “National Agency for the Education, Rehabilitation, De-radicalisation and Integration of Repentant Insurgents in Nigeria.”
It would give opportunities to so-called repentant terrorists to receive foreign education.
Among the likely beneficiaries under the bill will be 25 Boko Haram members and their wives, who recently arrived in Nigeria after reportedly surrendering to troops in the neighbouring Niger.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) vowed to resist such plans.
It threatened legal action if President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the bill, should it be supported by Parliament.
Its reading at the Senate paves the way for these actions.
“SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions nationally and internationally to challenge the legality of any such law and ensure that it is never implemented,” Kolawole Oluwadare, SERAP deputy director, stated.
The official said prioritising the education of Boko Haram members over the rights of Nigerian children to quality education was discriminatory.
“It violates Nigerian constitutional provisions, international and regional human rights obligations, and will undermine national development.”
It is estimated 13 million Nigerian children of school-going are out of school.
SERAP believes instead, government should formulate bills to prosecute members of the Boko Haram, whose insurgency has led to the deaths of over 30 000 people and displaced more than 2 million others from their homes.
– CAJ News