By Patrick Ochoga, Benin City
The Edo State Public property Protection (PPP) Committee, on Wednesday proposed an amnesty period for members of the outlawed Community Development Associations (CDAs), to enable them return their illegally acquired arms.
Addressing journalists in Benin yesterday, Chairman of the Committee and former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, said the committee would mop up the illegal weapons on a cash-for-arm basis.
Arase who outlined the committee’s terms of reference, explained that the committee which already has data of the CDA members to be rehabilitated, plans to adopt a moral-suasion approach in its work.
He however stated that there was no time line for the amnesty, saying that after a period, those who failed to submit their arms would be treated as criminals if found in possession of illegal arms.
“The approach of the committee is to get the foot soldiers but if need be we would go for the big boys who are their sponsors”, Arase said.
He explained that the committee would engage repentant CDA members in agriculture, Community work and other areas to absorb and integrate them into useful life.
Arase disclosed that the committee would interact with relevant stakeholders, including security agencies in order to have seamless operation, adding that the committee’s work would be intelligence-driven, just as it intends to seek alternative dispute resolution.
“We are not averse to criticism. We urge members of the public to suggest ideas that would better our operations”, Arase said.