Scores of self-confessed repentant thieves on Saturday held a rally at Kudai, a village in Dutse Local Government Area of Jigawa State to publicly declare their rebirth and counsel other youth against stealing.
Ahmadu Dodo, the head of Gyara Kayanka (“Repair It Yourself” in Hausa language) said repentant thieves across the state came together to form the association with the aim of helping society curtail atrocities and misdemeanour by youth in the state.
The rally featured self-confessed former thieves climbing up a podium before a large crowd of people from the village and neighbouring communities to take oath denouncing stealing and pledging to expose their old accomplices and buyers of stolen articles.
Local people trooped out from Kwaimawa, Laraba, Danmasara, Rungumau, Dadin Duniya and Kwanar Huguma villages to the special arena created in Kudai village to witness the ceremony.
According to Mr. Dodo, who described himself as a retired thief, some shy members of the association secretly took the oath of repentance. “We accepted them, but we compelled the stubborn ones to come to the podium to repent,” he told journalists.
“Put together, in this year we have been able to get 560 repentant thieves across the state, apart from this Saturday occasion which you can see is ongoing.”
Mr. Dodo said his association would be of benefit to farmers and herders in the state because most of the repentant thieves specialised in stealing cattle and farm produce such as rice, sorghum and maize.
He said the association has returned four cows to their owners, adding that the group was committed to dealing with deviant youth who persist in stealing and other acts such as substance abuse and indecent dressing.
At the rally, the association also spelt out its “dos and don’ts” to its members, which include, “No herdsman is allowed to walk with cutlass, or sword, no one is allowed to transport goat on motorcycle.”
“No one is allowed to cut down trees in the forest without the permission of agricultural extension worker, no farmer is allowed to set ablaze the remnant of stems in his farm.
“Anyone that calls a repentant thief a thief, after repentance, is subject to the fine of N100.000. and no Fulani woman is allowed to hawk beyond 6:00 PM.”
When contacted for comment on the development, the spokesperson of the police in Jigawa State, Abdu Jinjiri, said, he needed permission from his superior officers to do so.