EDITORIAL: Reckless amnesty

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The amnesty granted to bandits in Northwest Nigeria is nothing but jamboree.

IMPACT NEWS like Nigerians who mean well for the country is taken aback by the rush and decisions of governors in northwest zone of the country to grant amnesty to criminals engaging in banditry.

The governors had agreed at a one-day security and reconciliation meeting with security agents, vigilante, and volunteer groups, herdsmen and farmers in August in Katsina taking the uniform decision to grant amnesty.

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Zamfara state government was the first to declare amnesty in the bid to ensure that the state is secured for development to take effect.

We are not unaware of the dilemma of the governors of Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and other North-West states in the face of wanton killings and kidnapping perpetrated by hoodlums in these states, however the rush by these government to grant amnesty to these criminals may have provided a quick fix solution to their challenges, yet it has on the other hand dug a big hole in the security operations of the country as a whole.

We are conscious of the constitutional power of these governors to grant amnesty. This privilege should however not be abused. Should hoodlums with no clear intention be granted amnesty? What is then the purpose of the criminal justice system?

IMPACT NEWS recalled that when late President Umar Yar’adua initiated amnesty programme for restive Niger Delta youth and militants, there was justification for the move. The benefit of that amnesty programme still lingers till today. Unfortunately instead of the North-West governors to tackle the issue that may have given rise to bandit in their region, they opted for cosmetic solution; a quick fix that would rather worsen situation. The governors have successfully applied pain-reliever instead of tackling the remote cause of the pain.

The governors may go ahead to give themselves pat on the back, but IMPACT NEWS submits that their action is simply glorification of hooliganism, Justification of banditry and a mockery of the efforts of security agencies in the country.

The decision of the governors only shows that they are either idea bankrupt or complacent in their duties. A supposed chief security officer of a state whose best is to sit at the table with terrorists and bandits has no business in the government house.

This development leaves us wondering, what is the relationship between the governors and these bandits? Why are the governors in a rush to grant amnesty? Since they have links to these hoodlums why have they opted for amnesty instead of allow security agencies to have their way.

We challenged the federal government to intervene in this irrational decision of these governors before it generates irresponsible precedence.

We also want the federal government to investigate the governors’ amnesty programme.

While the governors celebrate their cosmetic approach to a lingering problem, just last weekend, bandits numbering over 200 attacked a joint security outpost in Sunke village of Anka Local Government Area of Zamfara state. The attack led to the death of nine soldiers.

It is our hope that the Federal Government would prevail on the North-West governors to rescind their amnesty programme and prosecute the bandits according to the legal provision of the country.