Some 157 Boko Haram members had written the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) as part of the de-radicalisation efforts of the Nigerian government.
The Comptroller-General of Prisons, Ja’afaru Ahmed disclosed that these persons were among those processing admissions into the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
Boko Haram, literally translated as Western Education is forbidden, is a West African terrorist organisation that had disrupted public peace while destroying lives and property.
Despite their perceived aversion to western education, these Boko Haram members in jail have now shown interest in western education.
Mr Ahmed disclosed that the Boko Haram members had also embraced vocational studies behind bars.
In his words, “Our dear country has unfortunately been plagued with various forms of security challenges; the most worrisome being the Boko Haram elements.
“The Federal Government in its commitment to protect the lives and properties of citizens being one of the cardinal objectives of governance has deployed numerous strategies to tame the scourge.
“Although the crisis is not over, it is gladdening to see steady progress, especially in deradicalizing violent extremists. The Nigerian Prisons Service has since assumed the onerous task of leading the de-radicalization programme.
“This programme is not entirely a strange approach, considering the Service’s mandate of reforming, rehabilitating and reintegrating deviants into the society.
“De-radicalization as an approach has turned out to be a great window of hope in the midst of devastating circumstances, ensuring that violent extreme offenders desist from their unpatriotic activities using counter-narratives to change their ideologies.
“It is important to state that the Service has recorded a significant breakthrough in changing the mindset of the extremists as about 157 of them in our custody have not only embraced formal education but many sat for the WAEC examination with impressive grades.
“I am happy to say that three of them are now being processed for degree programmes in the National Open University of Nigeria NOUN.”