34 members of Yan Shila, a terrifying group of bandits based in Yola, the Adamawa state capital have surrendered their weapons to embrace peace before security agents and community leaders at Demsawo Ward, Jimeta-Yola.
The gang which is comprised of mainly teenagers surrendered as a result of effort made by a community based Vigilante group called ‘Chusal Vigilante Group’ in curbing their menace.
The weapons surrendered by the repented gang members include machetes, knives, cutlasses and double edged axes among others.
Speaking on behalf of the repartees, 19 years old repented member of the group, whose identity is not disclosed, told newsmen about their mode of operations.
“We block minor roads and ask passersby to bring their phones and other valuables. If they comply then we will let them go, but if they refuse we beat them to pulp with local weapons and takeaway their phones and other stuff”. The teenager said.
“We don’t take drugs with the money we make from snatching the phones; we go to clubs, spend for girls and also buy food and expensive clothes” he added.
On the reason why they joined this heinous group, he said, “We got into this cult because of lack of job. Initially we were not part of this; everyone knows that we work in a car wash along Zaranda Street.
“When the borehole of the car wash got spoiled and we had no any means of getting money to fend for ourselves, we resolved to join the group.ADVERTISEMENT
“We contacted all the authorities concern, including our Ward Councilor and the Commissioner, Yayaji Mijinyawa to help repair the borehole but to none of them turned up to our aid for about two years now.
“That is why we joined the group but thank God we realized our mistakes and the rest is history.”
Also speaking at the occasion, the representative of the commandant of Chusal Vigilante group, Mallam Hassan, called on the governments at all levels to help enhance the activities of vigilante groups nationwide.
“Governments should help equip us, we don’t have a patrol van, in fact, some of us don’t even have touch lights and we go for patrol at nights.
Another issue is that we need cooperation from the police and other securities. It is so discouraging, a situation whereby you arrest a criminal, take him to police station and they will release him unconditionally”.
Also present at the occasion, the representative of Nigerian Police, DSP M.M Habib calls on parents and guardians to be more vigilant of the activities of their children.
He also applauds the efforts and contributions of Chusal Vigilante group in ensuring security in Demsawo and environs, and enjoined other communities to emulate Demsawo in forming similar groups.
“Security is everybody’s business. We at the police are always happy, and find it easy working in communities that have good vigilante. They help us arrest criminals and in locating their hideouts. ” Habib said.
Interacting with journalists at the end of the occasion, Yahyaji Audu Mijinyawa, the commissioner for Land and Survey, Adamawa state, who also doubled as commissioner of Education emphasized on the effort of the state government in ensuring the total cleansing of this issue of Yan Shila menace.
“The government has the responsibility of ensuring that security agents are doing their job”. The commissioner said.
Alhaji Baba Paris, Dan Isa Adamawa at the EventADVERTISEMENT
When asked whether the government has some empowerment packages for the youths since joblessness is the major reason why they are into heinous act, Mr. Mijinyawa has this to say,
“Actually this government has lots of empowerment programs, for example, this anchor borrowers programs initiated by the federal government.
We need to encourage and sensitize them on the selection process so that they can form groups and benefit from it.”
In his closing remarks, the District Head of Jimeta, who is also the Dan Isan Adamawa, Alhaji Muhammadu Inuwa Baba Paris thanked the Maijimilla (Village Head) of Demsawo and the entire people of his community for their relentless effort in ensuring peace and harmony in Demsawo and Jimeta at large.
Baba Paris also enjoined all the 12 community heads in his district to as a matter of emergency emulate Maijimillan Demsawo in fighting the hydra-headed Shila menace.
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“I carried all the remaining community heads in my district to this occasion so that they would see for their eyes and go back to their respective communities and form something of this nature.” He added.
“I thank you all, and wish each and every one of you a successful journey back to his destination.” He concluded.