The Defence Headquarters has released from custody, over 165 Bokoharam suspects apprehended in the course of anti-terror operations in three states in the North-East.A directive which was said to come from the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
This was disclosed yesterday in a statement signed by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Major-Gen. Chris Olukolade.
Olukolade said that the suspects were those earlier recommended for release by the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) set up by the Defence Headquarters last year.
He explained that 157 out of the number of persons released, were from facilities in Borno, nine came from Yobe and one suspect from Adamawa.
The Defence Spokesman also said, “other detainees, particularly women and children have benefitted from similar gestures which started in May last year.
He further disclosed that more suspects in that category were also to benefit in the present exercise.
“The suspects will be released to their respective state governments”, he said.
Also last year, the interim report by the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peace in Northern Nigeria had recommended the measure as part of government’s multi-faceted strategy to solving the security challenges posed by the activities of the sect.
A presidential directive was consequently given for the release of detained wives and children of Boko Haram members, with a bid to convince the sect members to dialogue with government.
In another development, the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Joseph Ezeoba has ordered the warring parties in Ogborodo Community, Warri South West of Delta State to embrace peace or face the wrath of law enforcement agencies.
Ezeoba gave this warning yesterday when the leaders of the two warring parties, whose confrontations have disrupted oil production at Escravos, Warri, Delta State visited Naval Headquarters to resolve their dispute.
He expressed delight that the contending parties had gathered to discuss the need for peace in their communities, reminding them that as the same kindred within the Itsekiri ethnic nationality, it was normal that they should live in peace and harmony.
The Naval Chief said Federal Government was all out for peace in 2014, warning that the incident of January 5, where some people were killed in the conflict must not be repeated.
He said: “It is a thing of joy that we have all gathered here to discuss peace in your area… to address the insecurity caused by the long standing crisis in Ogborodo community of Warri, Delta.
“The two warring groups pose security threat. The incident, which led to the January 5 security breaches and disturbances at Escravos is most regrettable. We want you to see the year 2014 as the year of peace.
“If you represent your people, your attitude should reflect peace and rule of law. For us as the law enforcement agency, we will not allow or tolerate any form of disturbance of peace. It is absurd for the people of the same stock to be killing each other”.
Ezeoba drew the attention of the communities to the fact that their actions could jeopardise the proposed multi-billion naira Gas City.
“The federal government has decided to place in your community a multi-billion naira project, the world’s largest gas town is something that should be celebrated”, he said, adding, “I want you to appeal to your conscience to allow peace to reign. So anybody who disturbs the peace, will be dealt with henceforth”, he warned.
The two groups, who later embarked on a closed door meeting with the Naval authorities, were led by Dr. Tosan Alex Ideh, and Chief Thomas Ereyitomi.