MOSOP Opposes Amnesty for Bandits

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) strongly opposes the proposed amnesty for bandits. MOSOP considers amnesty for bandits an encouragement for jobless youths to take to organized crime with the hope of being resettled and also an incentive for their sponsors who eventually become beneficiaries.
It is on record that bandits have killed over 20,000 Nigerians since 2017. We therefore consider amnesty for bandits an incentive to crime. Moreover, it amounts to double standards and is highly unfair that some citizens accused of stealing food items due to hunger languish in prisons while the government is considering amnesty for people who took up arms against the state and have killed thousands of Nigerians.
MOSOP is of the opinion that the government should rather than grant amnesty to criminals consider a reformation programme for bandits within special prisons and extend the programme to accommodate all Nigerian prisoners for a period not exceeding five years while they are in custody of the state. We note that amnesty for bandits is a very bad signal and could worsen the crime rate as more young people may be persuaded into crime with the hope of a settlement.
We disagree with the argument that amnesty for bandits can be similar to the amnesty which were granted to Niger Delta militants. While we do not subscribe to the approach deployed by the Niger Delta militants, their agitation was a response to decades of neglect and resource exploitation without tangible benefits. Moreover, the Niger Delta militants did not set out to kill innocent citizens and displace constituted authority. We admit that their violent agitation was condemnable but we hold strongly that their target was not the Nigerian people who suffered the deprivations they revolted against.
In contrast, bandits in northern Nigeria are executing a religious and ideological war which cannot be suppressed with an amnesty programme. They have set out to behead Christians, muslims and community members, kidnap little children and inflict unimaginable injuries on people, Government will not only be insensitive to integrate such persons into society through an amnesty programme as they are not fit to relate with people until after long years of reformation.
It is our position therefore that those in government will be abusing their powers and privileges and also be further endangering the lives of Nigerians by granting amnesty to bandits and attempting to so quickly reintegrate them into society.
Fegalo Nsuke
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP)
Peace and Freedom Center, Bori, Ogoni
Rivers State

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