By Abiodun OBA
Repentant thugs in Kano State have been asked to be honest to themselves, the society, keep promises made on defending the people and the allegiance they made to the People, Government, Security and indeed their parents.
Kano Governor Abba Kabir Yusuf advised them during a hangout event with them at Sani Abacha Indoor Sports Hall, Kano, organized by Kano state Police Command in collaboration with the AMG Foundation.
Yusuf who charged the youths to remain patriotic and make good use of the opportunities offered to them to live a crime-free life, offered scholarship and skills acquisition opportunities to 172 out of the 222 repentant thugs that were handed over to him on Tuesday by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Usuani Gumel.
Already, 50 of the repentant influential youths, who indicated interest in helping the police to fight crime have been trained and conscripted as police constabularies.
Governor Yusuf vowed that government and security agencies would not hesitate to re-arrest and prosecute any of them found short of good character and patriotism.
According to him, “already, we have made plans for their empowerment through skills acquisition and education. Those who are willing to further their education will enjoy scholarship and sponsorship from the state government. Others who want to acquire skills or go into other legitimate businesses would also receive the full support of the state government.
“I most sincerely commend the efforts of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Usaini Gumel for making this feat possible.
“The Kano Police Command had organized the training and passing out parade for these repentant thugs and out of those that are trained, there are 50 constabulary volunteers who were selected from the crime prone local government areas of Fagge, Gwale, Dala, Dala, Nassarawa, Ungogo and Kano Municipal, while 152 opted for skills acquisition in various trade to which the Kano State Government is committed to support them financially.
“Those who opted to go back to school to continue with their studies would be readmitted accordingly.
“I therefore seize this opportunity to call on these repentant thugs to be honest to themselves, the society and to keep the promises they made on defending the people and the allegiance they made to the People, Government, Security and indeed their parents.
“In the event that anyone fails to honour the allegiance and continue with his old habit the Government and Security agencies will not hesitate to punish and take action according to the laws of the Federation.
“It is our desire to ensure that Kano remains safe and secured to the comfort of residents, investors and visitors.”
Governor Yusuf further expressed, “I am also sincerely grateful to the Director-General of Special Services of the State, AVM Ibrahim Umar (rtd), for using his wealth of experience in harnessing and coordinating the smooth operation of security agencies in the state.”
He added that the reintegration of the repentant thugs is a testament that Kano has regained her lost glory as a haven for human development.
“Today is historic because it has showcased our commitment to ensure security of lives and property. It is also a beckon for local and foreign investors to feel free to partnering with us for mutual benefits and socio-economic development of our dear state.
“Therefore, the reintegration of the 222 repentant thugs who were hitherto being used by some forces who are enemies of the State to perpetrate various types of crimes such as Political attack on innocent citizens, phone snatching, drugs addiction, rape etc, may be seen as perceived leniency toward the perpetrators of heinous crimes. Not at all!
“We believe that remorse, apology, and forgiveness are time-honoured ways to restore offenders and victims and let them move on with their lives; and as well, sanitize the society and make it conducive for socio-economic and human development.
“Kano is setting the pace as the first state in the federation to use non-kinetic approach in bringing down the wave of crime.
“This is, indeed, a big plus to our administration’s resolve to build a new Kano where crime will give way to development, peace and order, and economic prosperity.
“I sincerely feel glad to receive these 222 repentant thugs. Our promising young men, who have realized that crime does not pay. From the day they surrendered, they have been subjected to a series of reformatory processes.
“They have under-gone lectures from psychologists and other experts in human behaviourism. Our clerics have also engaged them; and we feel satisfied that they have sincerely shunned crime.
“They are ready to be reintegrated into the society and positively use their talents to prosper themselves, members of their families and also contribute to the economic development of the state. During the football tournaments heralding their repentance, we discovered that a number of them are talented footballers.
“They can make use of opportunities already available to them to grow their talents in football and other sporting activities,” Governor Yusuf stated.
He revealed that his administration is supporting security agencies in carrying out their duties.
“Apart from provision of needed logistics, already, we have re-established the all-important Security Communication Centre located under the Kofar Nasarawa Brigade.
“It was established during the administration of His Excellency, Senator Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso, but was not only abandoned, but vandalized by the immediate-past administration.
“It was established to serve as Quick Response Centre (QRC). It was designed and equipped with modern CCTV Cameras and manned by various security personnel.
“The communication Centre was covering 10 identified locations namely: Zaria Road/Dangi Flyover; Emir’s Palace premises; SSG Office premises; Government House Roundabout; Iyaka Road; Dr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso Flyover K/Nasarawa; IBB Way/Obasanjo Road Roundabout; IBB Road by Plaza Junction; BUK Road by Gidan Murtala.
“Sadly, when the immediate-past administration came in 2015, the project was not only destroyed, the CCTV Cameras, furniture and other security gadgets in the facility were vandalized and looted. There is no gainsaying the fact that abandonment of this very facility contributed largely to the rising spate of phone-snatching and other violent crimes that took the tolls on our streets, before we came in on May 29, this year.
“As part of our resolve to ensure adequate security of lives and property, we re-activated the Security Communication Centre,” he said.
According to him, “with the facility now fully in place, security of lives and property within the metropolitan Kano is boosted.
“Security agencies will always have a lead while trying to figure out location of hidden criminals and suspicious movements within the areas of coverage.
“Installation of CCTV Camera Viewing Centres will remain a continuous project in our administration, until we are able to cover all strategic areas across the metropolitan city.”
Governor Yusuf commended President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his untiring efforts and ensuring the primary responsibility of Government in safe guarding lives and properties for the citizens of Nigeria.
He also expressed gratitude to the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun for giving all the support needed to keep the peace in Kano state.
In his address, the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Mohammed Usuani Gumel, invited motivational speakers and Ulamas to play their own role by delivering constant lectures to the repentant thugs.
“While taking cognizance that each time one repents and apologises, it is human to forgive, and that is why we all forgive and forget the past.
“On this note, we are inviting all stakeholders, especially from the state Council of Ulama, Hisbah, Kano Chamber of Commerce and other industrial and private Key Stakeholders to equally host them some other times, and to keep showing them a sense of belonging and never to leave them redundant or be allowed to be stigmatized by the public.
“This is the time they need the honest love of the society. Today we want you all to deliver to them some advice, Motivational Talks and look inward to ways of engaging them in some Life Changing Programs.
“This is part of the societal healing and integration processes into the mainstream of society. This is in consideration of their voluntary decision to turn away from the life of crime which is to our admiration and deserves applause as it takes great courage to forego past mistakes, abandon the path of violence, and embark on seeking for a legitimate and better way of life,” he added.
The Commissioner further stated that, “in my part, I urge these influential youths to remain steadfast in their commitment to this positive change, knowing fully that the Kano State government, community stakeholders and Police will ever stand behind them in this journey of healing, transformation and peacebuilding.”
The Emir of Kano, His Highness, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero commended the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Gumel and Governor Yusuf for the amnesty offered to the youths.
The Royal Father admonished the influential youths never to misuse the golden opportunity offered to them to become better human beings and patriotic citizens.
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), captains of industries, students’ unions, opinion leaders, women leaders and politicians who graced the occasion, all expressed gratitude to Kano state Commissioner of Police and Kano state government for saving the future of the repentant influential youths.