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Why We Were Forced To Take Oaths Of Secrecy Over Boko Haram Terrorists – Ex-Govt Official Explains

A former Director at the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Gavs Katiya, revealed that he and officials from the National Orientation Agency (NOA) were compelled to take oaths of secrecy before engaging with repented Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria’s north-east.

Appearing as a guest on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, Katiya, now retired, shared his insights.

The NDE, established in 1986, focuses on reducing youth unemployment through skill acquisition programs.

Boko Haram, an insurgent group active since around 2009, has caused tens of thousands of deaths and significant displacement, particularly affecting children.

In March 2018, then-President Muhammadu Buhari announced the government’s willingness to accept the unconditional surrender of Boko Haram members.

Those who lay down their arms and seek reintegration into society are referred to as “repented” Boko Haram fighters.

Katiya, from Gwoza Local Government Area in Borno State, was assigned to the north-east during his tenure at the NDE. He and NOA officials were tasked with engaging and training these repented fighters.

He recalled that the first group of 95 repented fighters was brought to his office. Before interacting with them, officials had to take an oath of secrecy to prevent them from disclosing the identities of these individuals.

The first batch of repented Boko Haram fighters – 95 of them – was brought to my office while I was still the director in NDE.

“So, I interfaced with them because the then Federal government asked us to talk to them, to train them to embrace skills,” he recalled.

Before we were allowed to talk to them, we had to take an oath that when you finished with them, you don’t have to say, ‘I saw this person. He’s one of the repented Boko Haram fighters,’” Katiya said.

Without specifying who mandated the oaths, Katiya now leads the Gwoza Resettlement Initiative, aiding the resettlement of refugees displaced by terrorism in Gwoza, a town on the Nigeria-Cameroon border.

Naija News recall that this town recently faced an attack by four female suicide bombers, resulting in over 20 deaths on June 29.

Katiya noted that many residents in the north-east join Boko Haram for financial reasons. Out of the 95 repented fighters he engaged with, 70 were from Gwoza, including individuals he personally knew.

He explained that some people view insurgency as a means of livelihood.

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