IGBO secessionist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) has lashed out Nigeria’s information Alhaji Lai Mohammed for supporting the practise of state governments offering amnesties to armed bandits who have carried out murderous attacks on villages.
Over recent years, heavily-armed bandits have been terrorising the northwest geo-political zone, controlling large swathes of territory, particularly in Zamfara and Katsina states. Powerless to stop them, both state governors have been forced to enter into dialogue with these bandits and even offer them money to lay down their arms.
So far, however, every agreement entered into has broken down, leaving both states at the mercy of bandits who attack villages and towns with impunity. Last week, Islamic cleric Sheikh Abubakar Gumi met with bandit leaders Kachalla Turji and Kachalla Muhammadu Bello at Makkai Forest in Zamfara State and reached an agreement with them which he then presented to Governor Bello Matawalle.
Following the meeting, notorious gun runner and assassin Auwalun Daudawa and his group have surrendered 20 AK47 rifles and five more dangerous weapons to the governor, who in turn has handed them over to the state police commissioner. Mr Daudawa handed over the weapons swearing on the Holy Quran not to revert to their old ways of life and requested that Governor Matawalle should allow him to stay in Gusau and go back to school.
Media reports have quoted Alhaji Mohammed as saying that he supports states who offer amnesty for ex-bandits. He was quoted as saying: “If granting amnesty to a warlord will lead to the surrendering of many others, I will take that decision.”
However, Ipob spokesman Emma Powerful, said the minister should not be advocating amnesty for murderous bandits but justifying proscription for peaceful agitators. Describing the statement as the height of hypocrisy, Ipob said such a statement had further confirmed its leader, Nnamdi Kanu’s position that Nigeria remained a terrorist-sponsoring nation.
Mr Powerful said: “Ipob ably led by our great leader Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, has noted with great amusement, a statement credited to the minister of information Lai Mohammed, that he supports amnesty for bandits. Lai Mohammed should not be advocating amnesty for murderous bandits but justifying proscription for peaceful agitators.
“Lai Mohammed justified Nigeria’s black market proscription of a peaceful movement like Ipob instead of bandits and other terrorist groups rampaging the north and ravaging the south. This latest statement by no less a person than the information minister has confirmed our leader’s position that Nigeria is a terrorist-sponsoring nation.
“Nigeria is in bed with terrorists but up in arms against innocent citizens agitating for freedom. Ipob never declared any war against Nigeria or her citizens yet it was unilaterally proscribed and banished by the government but bandits have been on a killing spree of innocent indigenous citizens of Nigeria yet the same government is seeking amnesty for the blood suckers. What a disgraceful irony.
“Victims of Fulani bandits, herdsmen and terrorists have always borne the brunt alone without any succour from government. Instead of seeking ways to bring these criminals to book, Lai Mohammed and his fellow terrorist sponsors are busy looking for ways to compensate their foot soldiers.
“Lai Mohammed has simply confirmed to the whole world that Nigeria government and her partners in crime are the key sponsors of the numerous killer squads and terrorists terrorizing the country. The whole world must take note of this man who has consistently defended terrorists in Nigeria.”