…Surrenders arsenals and deadly weapons of war

By John Nkwokocha

The embrace of the amnesty programme of the Abia state government by some self -confessed kidnappers operating in the state is a clear testimony that the package of the Abia state government unfolded by the Executive Governor, Chief  T.A. Orji, penultimate Sunday has already started to produce a positive result. This was demonstrated by surrendering of their arms, deadly weapons and sundry arsenals of battle by the enthusiastic kidnappers at the Government House, Umuahia.

In that first show of true repentance, the kidnappers turned up in good numbers as they were no fewer than twelve that gave themselves up in total renouncement of their dastardly trade.

Their new found spirit is not only laudable but also worthy of emulation by those who are yet to cash in on the package, turn a new leaf and become once more rehabilitated members of the society. It should be stated clearly that time still beckons on their colleagues who are yet to make up their minds to be courageous and take full advantage of the opportunity by going to any of the three designated centres namely: Asa, Mbuto and Okpakiri  and disclose their complete data for record  in the amnesty register.

The kidnappers at the Goverment House, Umuahia

Recall that Governor T. A. Orji during a live broadcast in Umuahia Sunday May16 2010, offered a comprehensive amnesty package to all kidnappers and persons involved in one way or the other in the dangerous business and urged them to come out of the forest and other hiding places and lay down their arms within 14 days. In the same vein, they will embrace the governor’s programme in this respect and enjoy all the benefits implicit in the package.

Amnesty is simply defined as pardon. To put it succinctly, according to the dictionary, amnesty is ‘a general pardon especially for those who have committed crimes without prosecution’. Indeed, this is exactly what Governor T. A. Orji has demonstrated. And without fear of contradiction, the programme will be implemented to its letter. Also without mincing words, Governor T .A. Orji is committed to the programme as it is his tradition to drive to logical conclusion, all his policies and programmes. In other words, Abians should be rest assured that there is no going back on the amnesty policy of the government.

It is worthy to note that this is the Governor’s largesse to all those in the deadly act. Again, the Governor has displayed the spirit of a father with a large heart. This is quite unprecedented in the history of governance in recent time and remains as an unbeaten record.   It has become very necessary at this point in time to make this clarification because of the cocktail of feelings within some quarters as to how genuine the government’s move is, stemming from skepticism held by the public, especially against the backdrop of the controversies that trailed the Federal Government’s amnesty programme at the initial time when it was unfolded.

Of course, the pertinent question any critical mind will ask is Why was Abia state, being a member of NDDC, excluded from the Federal Government’s amnesty programme? Whatever the explanation is, it is a matter for another day. However, it is unarguable that the relationship existing between the Abia state government and the Federal government is very cordial.

It is therefore in the light of this, that Governor T.A.Orji is unrelenting in his strive towards making Abia state to key in the federal government’s amnesty package. At this juncture, one believes it is imperative to emphasis that the benefits are immense. First and foremost, for having truly embraced the amnesty, the kidnappers becomes fully integrated into the society without molestation nor stigmatization. Secondly, it is a statement of fact that the Federal Government’s amnesty programme which is on going, has sent 200 militants and kidnappers from the Niger Delta area for training in skills acquisition in China and South Africa.

One of their leaders in a warm embrace with Gov. Orji

The Abia state government will plug into this as kidnappers in the state give themselves up to the government. Another benefit is that those who are employable will be offered jobs to live a decent life. There is no gainsaying that overall, with an improved state of security, the economic growth of the state will be accelerated as confidence of investors will be rekindled.  Expectedly,  tourism will be boosted.

In achieving the grand objective of the government’s amnesty policy, all hands must be on deck. The yeomanly performance of The Nigerian Civil Defense Corps in Abia state is commendable, however, they should not rest on their oars.   Other security agencies including the Police, Army and SSS have a good role to play by cooperating with the state government. On the part of the Abia state government, Governor T.A.Orji has provided all the needed machinery and human capital, hence, this is a confirmation of the fact that his administration is not only responsive and responsible but also has a human face. Therefore, there is no doubt that the amnesty scheme will be a huge success soon. Security is a serious business as it is capital intensive but in the face of meagre federal allocation that Abia state government gets monthly, increasing the allocation will go a long way to help the state government realize its goal faster.

•John Nwokocha is the Commissioner for Information, Tourism and Culture in Abia State.


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