Edo State Government has offered the olive branch to members of the outlawed Community Development Associations (CDAs), by way of amnesty.
The State Private Property Protection (PPP) Committee, which announced the amnesty period on Tuesday, also asked former members of the CDAs to return their illegally acquired arms.
Chairman of the Committee and former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, who made the announcement while briefing journalists in Benin, 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 had data of members of the CDAs to be rehabilitated, noted that the Committee planned to adopt a moral-persuasion approach in its work.
He, however, stated that after a period of time, 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.
The former IGP further explained that the Committee would engage repentant CDA members in agriculture, community work and other areas, to absorb and integrate them into useful life.
He 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 intended 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.