BY ILIYA GARBA, MINNA – The people of Vatsa in Lapai Local Government Area of Niger State have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to use the occasion of the June 12 Democracy Day celebration to grant their son, late Major General Mamman Jiya Vatsa, who was executed in an alleged coup in 1986 a state pardon.
The appeal by the community is coming 35 years after the late General Vatsa alongside nine other military officers were executed by the military after two trails for an alleged coup plot meant to overthrow former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida in 1986.
Spokesperson for the Community, Mallam Isah Aliyu Vatsa, who made position of the people of the area particularly the Vatsa family at a press briefing in Minna, said the state pardon if granted by President Buhari will heal the wound inflated on the community 35 years ago following his execution.
The community pointed out that even though March 5th every year is set aside to marked the killing of their son, and with sadness and sorrow by the family, granting him pardon like the way other Nigerians who enjoyed such gesture will enable them do many other things in his honor.
Vatsa further said; “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 cannot do that if he is not granted pardon,” he submitted.
He also said that 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.
According to 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.
“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 Mamman Vatsa, life has not been the same with the family and the community, adding that his execution created a lot of setback in the family and the entire Vatsa community because so many people depended on him for everything.
He said; “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”.