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Militants In Imo State Embrace Peace, Surrender Arms To Okorocha

Militant agitators from the oil-bearing communities of Imo State who had held the state by the jugular through destruction of oil installations and terrorising locals, yesterday surrendered their arms and ammunition, including AK47 assault rifles, to Governor Rochas Okorocha.

The ex-militants, numbering over 500, who arrived the Imo Government House in Owerri, the state capital, shortly before midday all dressed in white T-shirts bearing the inscription, “Disarmament of Agitators Powered by the Niger Delta Youths Volunteer Peace Advocacy,” intermittently chanted Niger Delta solidarity songs. The ex-militants, in the presence of security chiefs in the state, did not hide their distaste with the activities of oil companies operating in their communities.

The Deputy Chief of Staff and chairman of the disarmament committee, Engr. Kingsley Uju, who had earlier received the ex-gunmen, including the dreaded Niger Delta Red Squad, said that the occasion was in response to the mandate given to his committee by the governor to find lasting solution to the restiveness in the oil bearing Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta local government areas of the state.

Speaking to the newsmen, the aggrieved youths, who spoke through their respective leaders, accused the multinational corporations of criminally precipitating confusion, exploitation and violence among their people. They lamented that there is neither pipeline surveillance nor the presence of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in these oil-bearing areas unlike the situation in the neighbouring Rivers and Delta states. They implored the Imo State Government to release their members still being held in detention.

The Youth signed for the amnesty programme
After receiving the arms and ammunition, Okorocha commended the youths for their display of patriotism, assuring that security agents would no longer invade their areas. He also assured that their demands; grievances and agitations would be articulated and forwarded to the appropriate quarters for prompt action.

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