The Nigerian Prisons Service (NPS) has said 157 of the Boko Haram extremists in custody have embraced formal education even as many have sat for the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC).
The Controller General of Prisons, Ja’afaru Ahmed, disclosed this during the opening ceremony of a two-day workshop on de-radicalisation of inmates in Abuja on Monday.
Ahmed, who was represented at the occasion by a Deputy Controller General in charge of Health and Social Welfare, Hussaina Kori, stressed that the Service had recorded a significant breakthrough in changing the mindset of the extremists.
He said three of those who wrote the WAEC were presently being processed for degree programmes at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
While noting that violent extremism posed serious threat to social cohesion and economic development of the country, he pointed out that de-radicalisation had turned out to be a great window of hope to ensure that offenders desist from their unpatriotic activities.
The Controller General of Prisons commended the European Union for providing both financial and technical supports for the programme, adding that “your commitment to this course underscores the fact that the war against terrorism and insurgency is a collective one if only it is to be won.”
On his part, the Project leader of Civipol – a company contracted by the EU for the programme – Paul English, who said there were many lessons to be learnt from the interactions of the NPS with the extremists, said the European Union will deliver a developmental teaching guide to the NPS for the inmates by the end of April 2019.
The workshop, which has 31 very senior officers of the NPS in attendance, is meant to sharpen their capacities for greater performance.