Nigeria: Do Boko Haram insurgents surrender as prisoners of war and are they entitled to rehabilitation? (II)



Last week we started this delicate question in which we defined who are the prisoners of war? And what do international humanitarian law and the law of armed conflict say about the rehabilitation of surrendered parties? Today we will continue and conclude our speech above. Please read on.

Prosecution of surrendered terrorists

In accordance with Articles 5, 6 and 7 of the Geneva Convention of 2004, a protected prisoner of war and a protected internee can be prosecuted. This is in accordance with article 3 of the Geneva Convention on the Treatment of Prisoners of War, 1949, which states that:

“… in the event of an armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall not subject persons not taking part in hostilities, including members from the armed forces which have laid down their arms and those put out of action by illness, injury, detention or any other cause, to … the judicial guarantees recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples ”.

Thus, under international law, bringing these prisoners of war to trial by a duly constituted tribunal is the correct course to follow.

At this point, it is relevant to state that, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions on the Treatment of Prisoners of War and the Hague Regulations cited above, members of the dreaded Boko Haram sect who have laid down their arms in a suspicious manner by “surrendering” to the Federal Government of Nigeria, may perhaps be classified as prisoners of war. Their strange ideology and atrocious acts against established authority and the inadmissible crimes they committed or encouraged in Nigeria, however, will serve as strong evidence against the fact that they are not real prisoners of war in the real context of the Geneva Convention. But, however, having “surrendered” to the apparent “firepower” of the Nigerian federal government automatically makes them prisoners of war. They must therefore be tried for all the crimes and atrocities they have committed against the Nigerian people. The reason is that all Nigerians are subject to the laws of the land and no one, no matter how high or violent, is above the laws of the land.

Simply surrendering to the Federal Government of Nigeria should not be misinterpreted as proof of repentance on the part of the Boko Haram movement. Nor does it signify the reluctance of the dreaded sect (one of the four most feared and violent sects in the world) to continue with their deadly commitments and hobbies.

It is common knowledge that these vampiric insurgents would surrender, as their acclaimed leader is said to have been killed. Nigerian government actors are not good history students. If they are, they would know that when Mohammed Yusuf (the founder of Boko Haram) was killed his supporters dispersed to regroup and come back stronger. Abubakar Shekau (Yusuf’s successor), who was never apprehended and tried, was later to put Nigeria in a worse position than Yusuf ever did. So there is a very high probability that if these surrendered terrorists are rehabilitated in the fun way the Federal Government of Nigeria goes about it, they will come out worse than Shekau, if they are not properly tried under the proper laws. from the country. .

Is Rehabilitation the Right Way to Go?

If we did not suffer from collective amnesia, we should have scrutinized the backgrounds of members of this murderous sect whose objectives are to kill, maim, destroy established institutions and establish an Islamic Republic. They clearly said it in their own name, “Boko Haram” (education is a taboo). In pursuit of this vile enterprise, Boko Haram operatives in Nigeria have adopted the cruelest tactics of war of attacking non-combatants, civilians, vulnerable civilian areas and non-violent cantonments and entire villages. They abduct women and children at will and subject them to all kinds of severe ill-treatment, forced labor, rape, torture, abuse, dehumanization, forced marriage, child marriage and all kinds. unimaginable crimes against humanity. Unlike the then Niger Delta activists who were rehabilitated by then President Umaru Yar ‘Adua (God Bless His Soul), these bandits are not fighting for any perceived imbalance in society. They are not fighting for a better society or for the restoration of denied rights or privileges. Their war is fundamentally against Western civilization / education, the very foundation of Nigerian society and all known principles of democracy.

The insurgents are only surrendering, because for the moment they have no core leader to galvanize them. As soon as a new leader emerges and is announced, they will definitely join their colleagues in the forests and resume their destruction of civilization and all institutions in Nigeria.


Rehabilitation is certainly not the right way to go. It is surely counterproductive. As provided for in the Geneva Convention Act, the right way forward is to bring these surrendered terrorists to a fair trial before duly constituted courts, and to obtain their just desert.

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