The Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) is a body of vigilantes, recruited by local and state governments, that has assisted the Nigerian security services in the struggle against Boko Haram. They are widely said to have invaluable local knowledge. Critics, however, have been concerned about their lack of discipline and their alleged personal score-settling. They are also accused of serious human rights abuses. Now that they are armed, there has been concern about what they will do if and when the struggle against Boko Haram concludes.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in a May 14 press conference reported in the Nigerian media, gave insights into his thinking. He sees the potential for formally integrating the CJTF into the military and the police. He said, “For those who have received military training, it will be advised either to recruit them if they are within the age bracket of recruitment in the military or the police.”
The president praised the CJTF: “They have been of tremendous help to the military because they are from there, they have local intelligence and some of them are retired military or retired policemen. Since they were drawn by the authorities of their respective states, they were taken into confidence and trusted.” Buhari also said that because CJTF members are locally known, they can easily be disarmed once the fighting is over.
However, Boko Haram operations continue. The timeframe for disbanding the CJTF is yet to be determined.