A human rights and legislative advocacy advocate, Auwal Rafsanjani has faulted renewed calls for the granting of amnesty to bandits, explaining that it will encourage impunity and abuses of the rights of Nigerians.
Rafsanjani, who is the Head of Transparency International (Nigeria), made the comment during an interview on Channels Television aired on Sunday.
According to him, before these bandits are considered for amnesty, victims of banditry must be rehabilitated and compensated.
“You cannot allow people who have destroyed, killed, and brutalised communities…you did not heal that wound, now you want to pamper those who have perpetrated that criminality and [those] atrocities. It does not work that way
“They must face the law. If there’s no deterrent, you are going to encourage more of such impunity and abuses of rights of Nigerians,” he said.
Rafsanjani said before amnesty is granted to bandits, the well-being of their victims and families of their victims should be prioritised.
He added that the repentant bandits are not welcomed into the society because their victims are yet to heal from the agony of their [bandits]’ attacks.
“If you want to give amnesty, you first must rehabilitate the communities that have suffered against the activities, the atrocities of those who have brought misery to their communities. Then, you can think of having a programme that will deal with people who genuinely surrender.
“A lot of communities are not welcoming those people that the government says they have repented because many communities are still not happy. If you are serious, you first reconcile how to rehabilitate and provide life to those communities that have been destroyed and people whose loved ones have been killed and wounded because of these criminal gangs.”
Amnesty With No Results?
Rafsanjani’s comments came less than a week after Katsina State Governor Aminu Masari, also in an interview with Channels Television, said with the recent activities of bandits and information at his disposal, he wouldn’t have granted amnesty to bandits as he did years back.
The governor said although he doesn’t regret his action, previous efforts in 2016 and 2019 have obviously not yielded any positive result.
Masari is not the only person reconsidering his stand against granting amnesty to bandits. His Zamfara State counterpart, Bello Matawalle, has also said his administration will no longer grant amnesty to bandits in the state.
According to him, the decision became necessary since the bandits have failed to embrace the peace initiative earlier extended to them by the state government.