A notorious bandit who allegedly led the abduction of 344 school children from a secondary in Katsina State in December last year was among the bandits who surrendered weapons to the Zamfara State government on Monday under its amnesty programme.
Auwalun Daudawa was the mastermind of the abduction of the students in Kankara Local Government, a top security source had told Dateline Nigeria after the release of the students six days later.
The source also disclosed that Daudawa and other notorious bandits like Gurgu Dankarami and Dogo Na Ali benefitted from an amnesty programme Governor Aminu Masari introduced in Katsina State in 2016.
The source said the bandits were in the custody of security agents when the state government proclaimed the amnesty and ordered their immediate release.
Daudawa and others, it was gathered, shortly after regaining freedom, reneged on the agreement and went back to their criminal life, attacking communities in both Katsina and Zamfara states before the last year’s mass abduction of students that rattled the country.
In his defence of the previous amnesty of the Katsina State government, the secretary to the Katsina State government, Dr. Mustapha Inuwa, told Dateline last year that the idea of granting amnesty to bandits was sold to the state by Nigeria’s security chiefs.
The latest amnesty granted to Daudawa is already causing worries among security agents, who believe that it would only aide the notorious criminal to evade arrest following the Katsina incident.
On Monday, Daudawa and five other bandits surrendered 20 AK-47 rifles and a Rocket Propelled Launcher to the government of Zamfara State.
“I was convinced by the state government’s approach to peaceful reconciliation with armed bandits,” Daudawa said at the Zamfara government house.
“I learnt from those who repented before me that there was not a single plan by the government through use of security agencies to harm me and my boys. Therefore, we are now back for normal lives like other peace-loving Nigerians.”