From Yahaya Adamu Minna
With the June 12 Democracy Day commemoration just hours away, the Vatsa community people of Lapai Local government area of Niger state have appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to use the occasion day to grant a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, their son, Late General Mamman Jiya Vatsa, a state pardon.
Vatsa was executed, after a failed coup he participated to dethrone former miliary president and blossom friend, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida in 1986.
The spokesperson of the Community, Mallam Isah Aliyu Vatsa who made the appeal on behalf of the community and the entire Vatsa family while briefing newsmen in Minna said that the state pardon if granted by the President will heal the wound inflicted on the community 35 years ago.
The community pointed out that though 5th March every year is set aside to mark the killing of their son, and with sadness and sorrow by the family, granting him pardon like the way other Nigerians who had enjoyed such gesture will enable them do many other things in his honor.
“Every 5th of March, is always a dark day for the entire Vatsa Community and the immediate family. We mark the day with sadness and sorrow. We know that something was taken away from the family and the entire community.
“We believed that granting him a state pardon will enable the community and the family run a foundation in his honor. We can not do that if he is not granted pardon”, he submitted.
He pointed further that just as other Nigerians who were implicated in coup plot but granted pardon, the entire Gulu Vatsa Community and the family of General Vatsa are appealing to President Buhari to rewrite history and forgive their son and grant him pardon him.
“Even though our son was alleged to have plotted a coup, the family is passionately appealing to President Buhari to consider him for a state pardon as it has been done to other Nigerians who found themselves in similar situation in recent time.
According to him, “The same way that former President Olusegun Obasanjo, General Oladipo Diya, Late MKO Abiola and many others were all granted state pardon and integrated into the society, President Buhari should also consider our late brother and grant him state pardon.
“As a former Minister for Federal Capital Territory, our late son contributed immensely to the development of Abuja. As at the time he was implicated in the alleged coup, he was a minister of FCT and the architect of the present development of Abuja”.
He admitted that since the execution of late General Vatsa, life has not been the same with the family and the community, adding that “his death create a lot of setback in the family and the entire Vatsa community because so many people depend on him for everything”
“We are therefore appealing to all his friends still living to support this cause so that he can be granted pardon. This June 12 democracy day is a good opportunity for the President to wipe out our tears”, he added.