Some repentant members of the ‘Boko Haram’ sect on Wednesday pleaded with Nigerians for forgiveness over their past unwholesome activities.
They made the appeal while fielding questions from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) during their graduation ceremony after a de-radicalisation exercise and vocational training, organised by the federal government.
The deradicalisation and vocational training took place at the former permanent NYSC Orientation camp in Malam-Sidi town of Kwami Local Government Area in Gombe State.
Bappah Mura, a farmer-turned member of the sect who hails from Borno State, said he was deceived into joining the group, only to realise that all they were told were lies, adding that he regretted all his actions while with the sect.
“I beg Nigerians for forgiveness. I regret totally what we were forced to do; it was not my intentions but I beg for forgiveness.
“I was a humble farmer before I was deceived to join Boko Haram. All they told us were different from all we were made to do; they lied to me and deceived many of us.
“My heart bleeds, especially after our rehabilitation and vocational training, that we were used to destroy lives and property by the sect.
“But today, I am so happy that we have been trained and made to acquire skills in different ventures. I am grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigeria Army,” he said.
He pledged to return to Bama, his home town, and use his knowledge of the sect to expose their lies, so as to dissuade youth from being deceived.
“Today, I am graduating as a trained shoe-maker; I can make shoes of different brands; I am now an ambassador of peace,” he added.
Abana Ali, a 62-year-old ex-Boko Haram member said he was sorry for everything, noting that they were also terrorised while with the sect, until the army came to their rescue.
“I am deeply pained in the heart that we had been associated with such a devilish group; I beg Nigerians to forgive and accept us back.
“We were deceived and forced to join the sect; because of my age, I was not allowed to partake in their operation, but was made to do menial jobs in their camps; we were also terrorised and enslaved, until the army rescued us.
“We are grateful to the federal government for the show of love; the de-radicalisation training has been helpful and now I do not need to go home to beg, but to contribute what I have been taught.
“Youth out there, I tell you the truth; there is no gain being Boko Haram members, except for regret and intense sorrow; we pray that no youth witnesses the harsh condition we were subjected to,” he said.
On his part, Mohammed Modu said he was going back to the society as a repentant Boko Haram member to tell the people how good the federal government had been to them while in camp.
Mr Modu said one of the problems of insurgency was that many youth do not trust government, as such it was easy to get them deceived, adding that with the love demonstrated by the federal government, no one can deceive him again.
A housewife, Aisha Bukar, who visited her ex-Boko-Haram husband, said she was happy to re-unite with the father of her son, adding that she was three months pregnant when they separated.
Mrs Bukar added that the baby was named by the younger brother of the husband because she thought that the husband was no longer alive.
She appealed to Nigerians to forgive and accept those that had repented and received training from the federal government.