Claim 1: Repentant Boko Haram are paid N150,000 monthly
FALSE. Evidence shows that repentant Boko Haram members are not on N150, 000 monthly remuneration. The Federal Government has debunked the claim. At best, evidence shows some of them got a one-off grant of N20,000 to start their respective vocations.
Claim 2: Soldiers are paid N65,000 monthly
FALSE. Following the implementation of the new minimum wage this year, soldiers in Nigeria earn N70,000 and above.
A twitter forum, PDP Vanguard (@PDPVanguard), with over 91,000 followers, claimed that repentant Boko Haram members earn N150,000 monthly.
The twitter forum has its bio as “Official Twitter Handle of #PDPVanguard Forum. Dedicated 4 @OfficialPDPNig.”
“Something that you can only found in @MBuhari”s Nigeria: Soldiers are being paid 65,000 as monthly salaries; while repentant Boko Haram terrorists are being paid 150,000 as monthly stipend,” the tweet reads.
This claim has also been amplified by other twitter users such as Nubari Saatah (@Saatah), who tweeted, “So ‘Ex militants’ are paid less than 100k monthly stipend and ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members are paid 160k? Omo. Shame dey catch me everyday for this Niger Delta.”
“How can the FG propose to pay “Repentant” Boko Haram members 150k monthly? What’s the basis? This is rubbish. Our policemen, service men, civil servants and Corp members are not even paid such? It appears being a militant is more lucrative than any other enterprise in Nigeria,” he tweeted.
Brief on repentant Boko Haram members
The Federal government of Nigeria, through the Defence Headquarters, inaugurated Operation Safe Corridor (OSC) in 2015.
Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) posited that the programme’s aim was to rehabilitate Boko Haram militants and reintegrate the “repentant” ones back into their respective communities as productive law-abiding citizens.
“The defecting members will acquire vocational training and access training in civics and de-radicalisation, to become useful members of their society upon release from the program. Since OSC’s commencement in May 2016, many have expressed strong reservation and criticism against the programme,” CDD stated.
The International Centre for Investigative Journalism reported that the Nigerian military is waging the Boko Haram war with kinetic and non-kinetic strategies.
The Centre reported that kinetic is the hard-knock Operation LAFIYA DOLE; the non-kinetic is the soft-slap Operation SAFE CORRIDOR.
“Operation SAFE CORRIDOR is what its name says: providing repentant members of Boko Haram/Islamic West Africa State Province a SAFE CORRIDOR to return to society,” the Centre reported.
In July 2020, the Defence Headquarters announced that it reintegrated 601 repentant Boko Haram terrorists including 14 foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger into the society through their respective national and state authorities.
The Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, Major General Bamidele Shafa, said that the concept of Operation Safe Corridor was a unique non-kinetic operation aimed at giving hope to ex-combatants, who willingly give up their arms to embrace peace.
But how true is the claim that they earn N150,000 monthly?
The Federal Government has debunked the claim that repentant Boko Haram members are on a monthly remuneration of N150,000.
The Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media, Bashir Ahmed, posted on his twitter handle, @BashirAhmaad, that the claim that repentant Boko Haram members earned monthly remuneration is false.
“FAKE NEWS ALERT: The Federal Government is NOT planning to start paying repented Boko Haram members N150,000 monthly, the story is baseless and should be regarded as the usual fake news. When you see it here or on WhatsApp, ask the poster to provide a credible source of the story,” he tweeted.
Similarly, the Special Assistant to thePresident on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said that repentant Boko Haram members have not been employed in the Military and this also means the said monthly remuneration would not also be for those employed in the military.
“None of the 601 former Boko Haram members who voluntarily laid down their arms, and have recently graduated from the Federal Government’s de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme, is admitted into the military. This is the fourth such graduation of repentant Boko Haram fighters and not one of such graduates has been absorbed into the military,” Shehu said.
However, contrary to the claim that repentant Boko Haram members receive N150,000 stipend, the Government of Borno state has revealed that the repentant terrorists reintegrated into their communities were given N20,000 stipends and some basic equipment to start their respective vocations.
The Borno State Commissioner for Information, Babakura Jatau, said the funds and the starter packs were given to the repentant terrorists by the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the International Organisation for Migration.
Meanwhile, in February, 2020, Vanguard reported that following the commencement of the payment of the new minimum wage in January 2020, a Private Soldier was paid the sum of N50, 000 as salary, with only N2,000 increment from the previous N48,000 salary.
The report said the Private Soldiers were underpaid compared to their colleagues in the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force, who received the sum of N74,000 each, translating to an increment of N23,000.
A subsequent report by Vanguard revealed that the discrepancy was sorted out, thereby bringing the salary of a Private Soldier to N70,000 currently.
Evidence shows that repentant Boko Haram members are not on N150,000 remuneration. The Federal Government has debunked the claim. At best, evidence shows some of them got a one-off grant of N20,000 to start their respective trades. Meanwhile, the claim that soldiers in Nigeria earn N65,000 monthly is False. Following the implementation of the new minimum wage this year, Soldiers in Nigeria currently earn N70,000 and above.