The Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar has said if elected, unlike President Muhammadu Buhari, his administration will not have a policy of releasing the so-called repentant Boko Haram insurgents because they may return to target Nigerian military personnel.
He has, therefore, commended the Borno Elders Forum for its “patriotic and commonsensical call” on the President to stop the practice of releasing them.
In a statement issued by Paul Ibe, his media adviser in Abuja on Saturday, the former Vice President affirmed that he fully aligns with the call and feels vindicated because twice in 2018, he gave precisely this counsel to the President, “which he did not heed.”
The statement added: “It makes no military or practical sense to release hardened terrorists, who have taken the very precious lives of members of the Nigerian Armed Forces, on the flimsy excuse that they have been deradicalised or repentant.
“As Atiku Abubakar said last year, and says again, any right thinking person can see that escalation of the war on Nigeria by Boko Haram/ISWAP, coincides with the introduction of this repugnant policy by the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“Abubakar urges President Muhammadu Buhari to cast his mind back to the testimony of Abba Umar, a Boko Haram commander who after his arrest, boasted that he would return to join the sect in Sambisa if he was ever released.
“Atiku Abubakar, therefore, advises President Buhari to show single-minded resolve and commitment to defeating the common enemies of our nation and to do so without betraying any weakness, as this will only embolden the terrorists.
“The PDP Presidential candidate commends the Borno Elders Forum and urges other bodies of elders to learn from their sagacious courage to speak the truth to power.
“Finally, Atiku Abubakar serves notice to Boko Haram/ISWAP that if he is elected President of Nigeria, there will be no release of any captured terrorist. Instead, they must expect the harshest punishment the law allows. Under Atiku Abubakar, criminals will not profit from their criminality.”