By John Shiklam in Kaduna
A total of 750Â kidnappers, cattle rustlers and bandits in Kubau Local Government Area of Kaduna State have voluntarily sworn to an oath with the Bible and the Qurâ€™an to renounce crime.
The renunciation ceremony took place yesterday in Kubau, the headquarters of the local government area.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Austin Iwar, who presided over the ceremony, said theÂ repentant criminals took advantage of the window of opportunity opened by the state government and the Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris.
The police commissioner said heÂ has been engagingÂ community leaders to persuade deviants in their areas to abandon crime and embrace governmentâ€™s amnesty programme.
He disclosed that two weeks ago, another set of 400Â criminalsÂ and kidnappers had sworn with the Quran to renounce crime.
Iwar said the repentant criminals would also hand in their weapons to the government.
â€œI assure youÂ that very soon we will begin to recover most of these arms, as some of them have volunteered to handover their arms back, but not in public.
â€œOne of the strategies we decided to adopt was to see how we could get across to some community leaders in the context of community policing programme we are doing.
â€œIf you want to solve a problem you have to work with the people that created the problem; we also held series of meetings with hunters as prelude to the series of activities we call Renouncing Violence Strategies,â€ the police commissioner said.
Iwar maintained that if the exercise is sustained, it would significantly reduce crime in the state.
According to him, â€œHaving young people that are roaming in the bush committing all forms of crimes to come out and renounce violence, swear by Holy Qurâ€™an that they will not go back to violence again is very important.
â€œYou will understand that it is a very difficult decision for a criminal to come out in public and announce the atrocities he has been doing.â€
Also speaking, the leader of the Vigilante Service in Anchau, Mallam Audu Sallau, commended the security operatives for theirsupport to the programme and for winning the confidence of the criminals.
The renunciation ceremony which wasÂ witnessed byÂ heads of security agencies in the state, was held amid tight security provided by a detachment of the Nigerian army, police and civil defence.