More than one thousand militants who have been operating in the Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta oil producing areas of Imo state under the aegis of the Niger Delta Avengers of Imo state allegedly responsible for the killings, blowing of oil pipelines and carrying out other heinous crimes in the areas on Wednesday, 2016 surrendered their weapons and embraced peace claiming that the long-time negligence of their areas by the oil companies and lack of development in their areas forced them into militancy.
The event which took place at the Government House, Owerri, saw the agitators giving reasons for taking to militancy and why they have decided to embrace peace, with their commanders confessing some of the ugly things they had done and asking to be forgiven and be reintegrated into the society.
The Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta oil producing areas of the state have been under siege for sometime now occasioned by the activities of these militants until recently when Governor Rochas Okorocha adopted a strategy that made them to see reasons to drop their guns and embrace peace.
Speaking further on their reasons for taking to arms, their commander-General, Bobo Uzo Ndem alias Cross and Die, and Commander Amonon Uzoma alias Motor-Boy, admitted that they had been responsible for all the killings, and blowing of oil pipelines in the Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Oil producing areas of the state, stating that their areas have been abandoned by oil companies operating in the area and were not carried along in the Amnesty programme of the federal government.
They assured that they won’t fight again but would rather help to ensure peace in the areas, and also asked that attention should be given to their areas while the contract for the surveillance of the oil pipelines in the areas should be given to them, thanking the governor for his initiative which has brought them out from the bush where they had been fighting.
In his address, Governor Okorocha said “Those of you who are involved with militancy or in agitation, or those of you who have killed many innocent souls, today, I speak as the governor of Imo State to grant you pardon, SIN NO MORE, come back to the society and be part of the society and contribute to the development of our state. I hereby declare as the governor of Imo state that you are hereby pardoned”.
He said “Government will take every necessary step to meet your need and make life better for you. For that reason, I hereby request that the army from today henceforth, no more shooting in Oguta and Ohaji Egbema. Your presence there will be for peace. I hereby declare as governor of the state, no more shooting, no more firing, you will only be there to maintain peace and order and to you no more violence”.
“After all the killings, arson, blowing of pipelines, today peace has returned in Ohaji Egbema”. The amnesty programme will be declared by the president, I will convey all your request and concerns to President Mohammed Buhari for immediate action, he is aware you are coming here today and has promised to do the needful. He has sent the Chief of Naval Staff who will soon arrive to see for himself”.
“The federal government is aware of what you are doing, we know that our sons and daughters are not violent people, situation and circumstances must have led you to this. From now henceforth I believe you will keep your promises of dropping arms and been peaceful people”.
“I assure you again that the government will meet your needs, all your issues of request we shall meet them, but please it will not be an issue of today or tomorrow, it will take a short time to meet your long agitations such as light, road, hospitals etc, we shall call on all the oil companies immediately to meet the committee which will be set up by government to discuss about the welfare of the people of the Niger Delta”.
“We are aware that some of the leaders are taking advantage of this situation, and taking the money from behind and making you kill yourselves, now that government is involved you shall never see that again. So a new committee known as the Amnesty Committee by the President comes in which will be headed by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Army and Police will be members and equally the Priests and Pastors from the areas”.