By Izunna Okafor, Awka
Anambra State Governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo has been advised to consider granting amnesty to Unknown Gunmen terrorizing the state for years now, as one of the strategies to make them shield their swords.
The President-General of Uli community in Ihiala Local Government Area of the state, Engr Tobias Obiagazie, gave the advice at the Peace and Security Summit/Convention recently held in Uli, and which had some dignitaries and stakeholders in the state in attendance.
According to him, the government should emulate the Niger Delta which granted amnesty to the militants previously operating in the area, and which, he said, has restored peace and security in the area, as the agitating youths have all shielded their swords. He said such action should be replicated in Ihiala and in Anambra State in general, to make the youths who have joined the Unknown Gunmen to lay down their arms.
“It is our request, Mr. Governor, that you consider the option of granting amnesty to those who will voluntarily drop their arms to embrace peace.
“A rehabilitation program similar to that of the Niger Delta will go a long way to restoring a lasting peace to our town in particular and in the state in general.
“Our teaming youths have been victims of long neglect, effective youth empowerment program will therefore be an antidote to this insecurity.
“The community would collaborate with you and the state government towards achieving this,” he said.
Earlier speaking at the event, the State Commissioner of Police said about 17 buildings where unknown gunmen reside to perpetrate their nefarious attacks of terrorizing indigenes of the State have been identified and marked for demolition in the community.
CP Echeng, represented by the Police Area Commander for Ihiala, ACP Bassey Christopher, noted that the Command has also made a heavy deployment of joint security forces in the area, comprising of the police and the army, who will commence day and night strikes in the four villages of the community.
According to him, the operation, tagged ‘Action All the Way’ was launched to quash the activities of the gunmen and restore a lasting peace and security in the area.
On his own part, the State Commissioner for Homeland Affairs, Chief Chikaodi Anara said Soludo’s administration will not negotiate with any criminal or condole the activities of criminals in the area.
“A criminal is a criminal, and we have zero tolerance to going to negotiate with criminals. And, be informed that this meeting has given those people the opportunity to lay down their arms now because it is going to be total action henceforth,” he said.
“When you go and kidnap a soldier or policemen that has family and kill him, should you expect pity?” he questioned.
The Commissioner further noted that, if the people want an amnesty, it would be structured amnesty and must start with the respective communities.
He also reminded the people that the marked buildings, when demolished, will automatically become the property of the state government, in accordance with the relevant law of the State.
He said, “In line with the Anambra state laws, any building that has been demolished belongs to the government and the former owner or landlord has lost ownership of that land and he cannot lay claim to it or want to go back to rebuild the house,” he said.