Deradicalization and Boko Haram: An Appraisal of Operation Safe Corridor
Keywords:Boko Haram, Deradicalization, Operation Safe Corridor
For a successful counter-terrorism (CT) campaign, scholars and conflict managers emphasize a combination of soft and hard approaches. While the hard approach is effective in weakening terrorist’s military capabilities, the soft strategy such as negotiations, deradicalization, disarmament, rehabilitation and reintegration are employed to address the underlying issues that fuel terrorism for peace and stability. In 2016, the Nigerian government established Operation Safe Corridor (OSC), as part of the soft approach of Nigeria’s national CT strategy. The OSC is targeted toward deradicalizing and screening Boko Haram (BH) defectors and victims who are at risk. The programme is also a response to local and international concerns on Nigeria to reduce the disproportional use of force and the blowback effects. OSC is criticised for been counter-productive. This study examines the level of implementation of the OSC as well as its outcome. The study discovered that the OSC tends to mix BH defectors and released BH captives for screening, this provided opportunity for further radicalisation. Moreover, the operationalisation of the programme generates issues of human rights and inadequate management which results to donor dissatisfaction and inadequate public confidence on the effectiveness of the programme. The public confidence deficit has made the reintegration of graduate internees a herculean task especially at the community level. This study recommends that for OSC to be effective, the Nigerian government should expand its major focus on speedy disengagement of violent extremists from violence. There is also a need to review the methodology of the programme as well as the exiting strategy of graduate internees from the programme. To achieve the aim of the study, broad sources of data is employed including Key Informant Interviews (KII), peer-reviewed journals, official documents and reports, as well as media sources.
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