The Ebonyi Government says it will offer amnesty to bandits and other criminals terrorising the state but willing to repent and lay down their arms for peace.
The Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Uchenna Orji, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakiliki on Friday.
Mr Orji said that Governor Dave Umahi was committed to the protection of lives and property of residents of the state and would use any legitimate means to achieve it.
He said that repentant hoodlums and all those who engaged in one criminality or the other in the state under any guise would be rehabilitated and reintegrated back to society.
“The governor’s take is that of amnesty and offering the olive branch to them.
“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,” Mr Orji said.
He said that government’s idea was to ensure that every hoodlum was rehabilitated and reintegrated with their families and communities and not molested.
He said the security meetings convoked recently by the governor were designed to find solution to the increasing security challenges plaguing the state.
Mr Orji further said the security meetings were meant to involve stakeholders in the effort to achieve a lasting solution to the challenges.
“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 commissioner, a one-time Chief Whip of the state House of Assembly, said available security reports show that most of the bandits come from Ebonyi communities.
“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,” Mr Orji said.