Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that most young people used by Boko Haram to commit mass murder and destruction of public structure, are also victims of their own crimes.
The vice president said this Tuesday while delivering a speech during the opening of the Northeast Humanitarian Multi Stakeholders Engagement meeting in Maiduguri, Borno State.
He said many young people conscripted by Boko Haram to either kill or act as suicide bombers deserve the sympathy of the public because they were probably forced to become terrorists under circumstances beyond their control.
The Multi-Stakeholders engagement is organized by the office of the Vice President in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) as a prelude to implementing the multibillion naira Presidential Initiative for Northeast-Nigeria (PINE).
PINE will be spending a total of N213 billion on the short term and long term rebuilding and development of the Boko Haram ravaged northeast Nigeria in five years.
Mr. Osinbajo argued that while the Federal Government pursues its counter terrorism and de-radicalization efforts in the northeast Nigeria, such young Boko Haram members as well those who are likely to buy the Boko Haram ideology must be presented with counter narratives that could alter their ill-imbibed terror ideology.
“The first thing to understand is that there are lot of these young people who have been drawn into terrorists activities who are themselves victims. Clearly, any one of their age who will kill and maim innocent people have obviously imbibed something that is destructive,” he told journalists.
“And our position as a government is that there is a need to de-radicalize many of these young people who are involved in terrorists activities; there is a need to present counter narratives to many of them who have bought into Boko Haram believes and ideas.
“And that counter narratives is one that we are trying to propagate; and people must understand that it goes beyond what they see; killing of people is not only wrong but ungodly. And there is no moral or legitimate excuse to do what they are doing. That is why there is the need to de-radicalize and offer counter narratives.