Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has said that granting amnesty to Boko Haram members, bandits, drug barons and militants is not a new thing and not unique to Nigeria alone.
The minister, who disclosed this on Wednesday while speaking on AIT’s ‘Kakaaki’, said there is nothing wrong with granting amnesty to criminals if the purpose is to restore desired peace in affected areas.
He said it is unfair to criticise Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, for granting amnesty to bandits who once terrorised the North-West state.
His words: “When you are fighting insurgency, you use both kinetic and non-kinetic (means). Granting amnesty to notorious drug barons, notorious militants is not a new thing, it is not unique to Nigeria.
“You need to be in the shoes of the Zamfara State government or governor to appreciate the issues at stake (and) why he has done that. Don’t also forget that the state governors are their own chief security officers.
“When you are dealing with insurgency, kidnapping, banditry, you are interested in the bigger picture; how do we restore peace? If granting amnesty to one notorious kidnapper is going to give me peace in my state, I might take that decision. If granting amnesty to one repentant warlord would help me capture a thousand bandits, I might take that decision. Don’t just look at what is in the public place, understand the very high complexity of managing insurgency and banditry.
“The governor of a state understands the dynamics of the state and takes decisions but it will be unfair of us to criticise him (Matawalle) without knowing what he did and I want to believe the governors work together with the security forces in their own state, so, it is not as we think.”
Auwalun Daudawa, the leader of the gang of bandits that abducted over 300 schoolboys in the Kankara Local Government Area (LGA) of Katsina State late last year, was recently granted amnesty by the Zamfara state government.
On December 11, 2020, Daudawa and his gang invaded the school, shooting indiscriminately to scare residents. The operation led to the disappearance of over 300 students.
This happened when President Muhammadu Buhari was visiting his home state of Katsina.
After their release on December 17, 2020, Governor Matawalle, said the boys were rescued through the help of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) and that no ransom was paid.
About 600 repentant Boko Haram terrorists were also granted amnesty last year by the Nigerian government, a development that attracted nationwide outrage.