The Ebonyi State Government says it will offer amnesty to bandits and other criminals who are willing to repent and lay down their arms.
State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Uchenna Orji, made this known to reporters on Friday in Abakaliki, the state capital.
Stakeholders have expressed different views on whether there should be negotiations with bandits or if they should be granted amnesty.
In February, President Muhammadu Buhari said his government will not grant amnesty to criminals, adding that it will continue to deal with insurgents, bandits, kidnappers, and other criminals who constitute a threat.
According to NAN, Orji, however, said the governor of Ebonyi, Dave Umahi, will use any legitimate means to see to the protection of lives and property of residents of the state.
He said repentant criminals will be rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.
“The governor’s take is that of amnesty and offering the olive branch to them,” Orji said.
“So, if they can surrender and lay down their arms, government is ready to get them profiled, rehabilitated and engaged in life transforming empowerment programmes.
“The EndSARS N3 billion empowerment programme is not only for those who were involved in the protest; it is also for idle youths and women.
“If this category of people can remember God, humanity, and the wonderful strides, selfless and passionate work of our governor, I can tell you that he will develop a programme that will give an immediate intervention.”
The commissioner further said the security meetings convened recently by the governor were designed to find solution to the challenges affecting the state.
“The engagement is also aimed at enhancing effective policing of our communities in order to ensure timely alert about security threats and breaches to relevant agencies,” he said.
“The truth is that these bandits and hoodlums are not totally outsiders.
“From the history of those already arrested, we have a lot of engagement to do with some of our youths, who have been involved in banditry in the state.”