By Obinna Unaeze
Family of the late Maj.- Gen. Mamman Vatsa and Gulu community in Lapai Local Government area of Niger, on Sunday appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to consider pardoning the deceased general.
The late Vatsa was executed 35 years ago under the military government of President Ibrahim Babangida for taking part in a coup plot.
But on Sunday, his family and people of Gulu community where he hailed from ask President Buhari to grant pardon to the late military General as was done to others.
“He deserves the pardon because he fought for the unity of Nigeria,” Jonathan Vatsa, a brother to the late general and former Spokesman of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger, said while speaking with newsmen in Minna on Sunday.
“35 years after the execution of the late Vatsa for allegedly plotting a coup, the family and people of Gulu community have appealed to the Federal Government to grant him pardon.
“He deserves the pardon because he fought for the unity of Nigeria,” he said.
Vatsa, also a former Commissioner for Information in Niger, explained that the appeal had become necessary due to the sacrifices made by the late general to keep Nigeria one.
He said that the family intended to establish a Foundation in honour of the late Vatsa to cater for widows and orphans, saying that this could only be achieved if the federal government granted him the pardon.
The former commissioner recalled how the late Vatsa, sometime during his lifetime, returned home with injuries sustained during operations to keep Nigeria intact.
“Therefore, I want to also call on friends and course mates of the late Vatsa to support us in talking to President Muhammadu Buhari to consider pardoning our late brother and father.
“The family members of late Vatsa have been through hell; his wife died, while two of his children, including a former Chief of Staff, Government House, Minna, Haruna Vatsa, also died.
“We urge the President Buhari-led government to pardon him as was done for the late Chief Moshood Abiola and others.
“We have already written a letter to that effect to President Buhari and copied the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami.
“We have also notified the Emir of Lapai, Alhaji Umaru Tafida for his blessings,” he said.
Similarly, the Village Head of Gulu, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim, who also appealed for pardon for Vatsa on behalf of the community, described the late military officer as a responsible and active member of the community during his lifetime.