According to Wikipedia, amnesty is a pardon granted by the government to a group or class of persons officially forgiving them of their acts of crime.
Section 14, Subsection 1(b)) Chapter 11 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) under the Fundamental Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy provides that; ” the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of Government ” . Every person has a right to life and shall not be deprived of it intentionally, except in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.
This weighty provision of the law has placed a huge demand on government at the Federal, State and Local tiers to prioritise the security of lives and property of her citizenry.
In the North Eastern state of Bauchi, the administration of His Excellency, Sen. Bala Mohammed debuted the scene of governance with a loud drive for comprehensive industrialization of Bauchi, drifting attention from the oil- targeted monoculture economy. Knowing well the dangers of poor security as touching industrial activities, the governor immediately took steps that would guarantee foreign investors’ confidence and encourage local investments.
Bauchi state has over the years been faced with a dearth of small and medium scale industries, making the Pearl of Tourism state entirely salary-
reliant, with an alarming poverty rate.
Towards winning the confidence of would-be investors, His Excellency, Sen. Bala Mohammed initiated an amnesty programme for ‘YAN-SARASUKA” thugs that have been perpetrating evil and terrorising residence in the state since 2007 to date. This was done with leniency, a way of reintegrating the lost sheep in the Bauchi community through a peaceful and harmless “carrot approach”.
Three states in the North East region where thuggery was elevated, as some would say, to become almost like an institutional apparatus of state as they assumed and exhibited powers
that were hitherto only associated with security outfits, were Bauchi, Gombe and Borono States. While ‘YAN SARA-SUKA’ ran Bauchi state berserk with the support and encouragement of the then governors, in Gombe State, the ‘YANKALARI’ group, made sure that their fear was the beginning of wisdom as they became law onto themselves. Likewise in Borono state ‘ECOMOG’ have in the past wrecked havoc on the residence of the state.
Needless to say that the havoc that has been wrecked into the system has today led to the tense security situation in the North Eastern part of the country in particular and the nation at large.
Today, Boko Haram insurgence, kidnapping, armed robbery and banditry, broad daylight cult killings involving youths are steadily enveloping us.
The decision of the state government to grant amnesty to the ‘YAN SARA-SUKA’ thugs in the state was received with unimaginable responses as over 500 members of the evil gang across the state surrendered large number of arms and ammunition and other dangerous weapons to the government and denounced the act of criminality.
While addressing the ‘YAN SARA-SUKA’ thugs,
Governor Bala Mohammed, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Dr. Abubakar Kari, said “the government will use the information provided by the police in integrating them to the society”.
The Governor further started that “the state will come up with empowerment programmes aimed at assisting them in capacity building to better their lives”.
He stressed the need for job creation as a fundamental tool to reduce unemployment which made youths to take to criminality. He said the State Government has promised to rehabilitate the repentant YAN SARA-SUKA thugs.
Sen. Bala Mohammed administration like the precedence in Benue, Taraba, the Niger Delta and other states through granting of amnesty and eventual empowerment of militia and militants has indeed set the tone for the Northern governors to emulate and resolve to uplift their states. The scary poverty situation and security challenges of the time suggest that all hands must be on deck to tame this evil. The Bauchi state Governor must thus be lauded.
I rest my pen for now!
John Akevi write via email@example.com