It is no longer news that many communities in Katsina State have been under sustained attacks by bandits, resulting in many people being killed, others kidnapped and women being raped. As a result, thousands of innocent people have been displaced.
In an interview granted to Daily Trust on Sunday, the governor of Katsina State, Aminu Bello Masari, said that one of the measures they intend to take is to grant amnesty to the bandits, with the hope that it would bring an end to the menace.
The reason I feel amnesty will not work is that it is a sign that the government has conceded that it is helpless and cannot enforce the rule of law in areas that are controlled by the bandits; hence it is making the bandits to grow bolder and continue to inflict misery on the people in those areas.
It seems, from the interview, that the Katsina State Government may not have plans for internally displaced persons, as the governor said that people would simply return to their villages once normalcy is restored.
The question is: Who will cater for the numerous orphans, widows and families that lost their breadwinners and means of livelihood to the bandits? It is only in Nigeria that individuals that commit heinous crimes like the ones the bandits are committing on a daily basis are given amnesty, which usually gives a little succour to the populace before more violence is inflicted on them.
For real peace to be restored, the government has no choice but to fulfil its mandate to the people. These bandits must be brought to justice. Internally displaced persons must equally be rehabilitated and integrated into the society. Anything less is an exercise in futility.