A total of 750 criminals, including cattle rustlers, bandits and kidnappers have sworn to an oath to abandon their illegal activities in Anchau village, Kubau Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 400 of the repentant criminals swore by the Holy Qur’an three weeks ago while another batch of 350 took the oath on Saturday to abandon their criminal way of life.
Austin Iwar, the Commissioner of Police told journalists on Sunday that the criminals were made to repent after intensive dialogue involving community leaders.
According to him, the repentant criminals took advantage of the window of opportunity opened by the government and the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris.
He said that as part of the programme, those who renounced violence would also handover their weapons to government.
The police commissioner, however, said that the recovery of arms would not be made public, so as to build trust and encourage other criminals operating in the state to also repent.
“I assure you very soon we will begin to recover most of these arms, as some of them have volunteered to handover their arms back, but not in public.”
He said that the repentant criminals were using the deep forests in the area as hideout, from where they terrorise communities.
“One of the strategies we decided to adopt is to see how we can get across to some community leaders in the context of community policing programme we are doing.
“If you want to solve a problem you have to work with people that created the problem; we also held series of meetings with hunters as prelude to the series of activities we call Renouncing Violence Strategies.”
Mr Iwar described the event as very important to the efforts being made to restore peace and stability in the state.
“Having young people that are roaming in the bush committing all forms of crimes to come out and renounce violence, swear by Holy Qur’an that they will not go back to violence again is very important.
“You will understand that it is a very difficult decision for a criminal to come out in public and announce the atrocities he has been doing.”
The head of Anchau Vigilante Service, Audu Sallau, commended the security operatives for their total support to the programme.
Mr Sallau said “none of the repentant criminals was forced to do so. They voluntarily saw reason to renounce violence, and since the commencement of the programme our communities are now relatively peaceful.”
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