CLAIM: CDD is in possession of a video released by Roots TV, an online platform; where one Mr Dalhatu Musa Ezekiel, a leader of the FCT indigenes’ Association was interviewed. In the 8 minutes long video, which has gone viral, especially on social media, including Facebook; YouTube and WhatsApp. In the video Mr Dalhatu alleged that the Nigerian Military is recycling insurgency by recruiting (ex) Boko Haram fighters into the Nigerian Army. According to him, ‘’20 years from now, officers of the Nigerian military will comprise of terrorists’’.
FACT: Our Fact-checkers traced the video to it source, posted on RootsTV facebook page, released on 29th November 2019. As of December 1, 2019, the video had 95,000 views, 673 comments and 5,400 shares on the page. A background check on Mr Dalhatu Musa Ezekiel shows that he is the deputy coordinator, Coalition of Abuja Indigenous Association (CAIA).
Mr Dalhatu’s claim is in relation to the activity of the Federal Government’s initiative on De-radicalization and reintegration of ex- Boko Haram combatants, which is tagged “Operation Safe Corridor, (OPSC)” implemented by the Defence Intelligence Agency of the Military. CDD has since inception partnered with the OPSC; with the goal largely to De-Radicalize and Reintegrate (DRR) ex-fighters to the communities, through their state governments. The State Governments as part of strategic and full reintegration hand them over to the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in their communities who monitors their activities.
The OPSC was set up in 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari to encourage willing & repentant Boko Haram fighters to surrender & undergo a DRR Programme. This is a global Transitional Justice model that brings together local and international partners, including the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), International Organization for Migration (IOM), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Department for International Development (DFID) and the North East Regional Initiative (NERI)
It is worthy of note that a good number of the ex- insurgents are child fighters, between the age of 10 – 19. From our fact check, available data shows over 1,370 Boko Haram fighters have surrendered to troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, Nigeria’s Military Operation fighting insurgency in northeast Nigeria.
In addition, the Nigerian Defense Headquarters released a statement:
‘’The Defence Headquarters wishes to unambiguously state that Dalhatu’s claims are not only bereft of truth but laced with mediocrity emanating from a poorly researched and uninformed position. Contrary to his claims, no Boko Haram ex-fighter has been recruited into the Nigerian military and no such plan is in the offing.’’
The statement urged members of the public to disregard Dalhatu’s claim, “as it constitutes outright aberration of extant recruitment procedures and practice of the Armed Forces of Nigeria.”
The Nigerian Military has a known process of recruitment of its personnel which include officially publicizing the process widely across Nigeria. The Military does not recruit personnel secretly, Mr Dalhatu’s claim is false.
CDD caution members of the public to always verify information before sharing them. Disinformation, Misinformation and Fake News are capable of igniting tension, cause chaos, violence and endangers our democracy. Let us Stop Fake News.