Over 500 members of a violent street gang in Bauchi State, locally known as Sara-Suka, have repented and surrendered their arms to the police.
The gang members at a public ceremony on Thursday in Bauchi where they also handed over their weapons.
The repentant youths, aged between 18 and 25, from 20 different notorious groups announced their repentance at the police command headquarters in Bauchi where they laid down their arms, which included machetes, clubs, Dane guns and jackknives, among others.
The Police Commissioner in the state, Habu Sani, said at the event that it was the result of intense pressure and awareness campaigns mounted by the police on the negative consequences of drug abuse, thuggery and other crimes.
“We are here today to formally receive over 500 repentant Sara Suka youth who met the conditions set by the Command.
“Over 500 members of 20 various Sara Suka thuggery group renounced their act of criminality and surrendered their arms in the state.
“Most of the youth engaging in Sara Suka thuggery are creative and have a lot of potentials in life.
“The command was mindful of such potentials as such, granted them the olive leaf and towed the carrot approach but with strict conditions and undertakings to repent and be good citizens,” he said.
According to him, among the repentant youth, some were skilled in various hand jobs, others were students and some unskilled.
The police boss called on the state government and Non Governmental Organizations to come up with empowerment programmes to build the capacity of the repentant youths in order to better their lives and keep them away from crime.
In his remarks, Governor Bala Mohammed, represented by his Chief of Staff, Alhaji Abubakar Kari called on the youth to remain law-abiding members of the society.
He assured that the government is coming up with policies and programmes that would create job opportunities for the teeming youths in the state.
Mohammed said his administration was a product of massive youth support, as such would do everything possible to reward them with good policies and programmes to better their lives.
He said that so far, most of the appointments he has made went to the youths.
The governor advised those yet to repent to have a rethink, saying the doors are still open for them to come forward.
Earlier, Rabiu Samba, Chairman, Bauchi State Youth for Peace and Unity, commended the police commissioner and state government for taking the bold step to stem the menace of thuggery in the state.
He assured that the group would continue to sensitize the youths on the dangers of Sara Suka and other criminal activities.