The Katsina State Government said on Monday it would grant “special pardon” to cattle rustlers who drop their arms and embrace peace.
Dr Mustapha Inuwa, the Secretary to the State Government, said in Safana at the beginning of peace talks with leaders of the criminal rustling gangs operating in the state.
“The government is ready to grant special pardon to cattle rustlers who hand over their weapons and release stolen cows in their possession,” he said during the meeting organised by Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association.
“The state government is ready to negotiate with the cattle rustlers so that local farmers and Fulanis will have rest of mind.
“We want the reckless and merciless killing of our people to stop.
“The Katsina government has given top priority to the safety of the lives and property of its citizens,” he said.
The secretary to the state government welcomed the dialogue initiated by the Fulani leaders, describing it as a breakthrough.
Inuwa disclosed that the government would respect the ceasefire agreement entered into earlier with the rustlers, until the signing of a final peace deal.
Earlier, the State Chairman of Miyetti Allah, Alhaji Mannir Lamido, said that they initiated the dialogue to stop unnecessary shedding of blood and deaths on both side.
“The vigilante groups and the security agencies have not been allowing my innocent members to attend Friday prayers or purchase anything in local markets.
“The Katsina Miyetti Allah decided to organize the dialogue so that final peace will return to our villages.
“The cattle rustlers have promised to stop killing and stealing cows from their owners and want the government to provide dams, cattle routes and grazing space, schools and hospitals for them,” he said.
In his remarks, the State Commandant, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Alhaji Abba Aliyu, said that the group was ready to enter into peace accord with the rustlers.
“If the rustlers fulfil their promise of not attacking us and releasing all stolen cows in their possession, we will surely not attack or kill anyone of them.
“We are human beings, we also want peace, so that the local farmers can conduct their businesses without any fear of attack by the rustlers.” Aliyu said.
The meeting was attended by all heads of security agencies in the state.