From George Onyejiuwa, Owerri
Multi-national oil companies operating in the oil-bearing communities of Oguta and Ohaji/Egbema council areas of Imo State, yesterday heaved a sigh of relief following the decision of a militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the Red Squad to surrender their arms and ammunition to the Imo Sate Government.
The ex-militants, who all wore Tee shirts with the inscription “Disarmament of Agitators Powered by the Niger Delta Youths Volunteer Peace Advocacy,” arrived the state Government House chanting solidarity songs and berated the oil exploration companies operating in their communities for their insensitivity.
Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, who received the ex- militants in the presence of top security agencies in the Army, Police NSCDC and the DSS, commended the youths for surrendering their arms and ammunition.
“This is a rare display of patriotism and I want to assure you that security agencies would no longer invade your communities,” the governor said.
The elated Imo governor equally assured ex- militants that their demands and grievances would be forwarded to the appropriate quarters for prompt attention.
The ex-militants, who assured the state government of a cease fire in the oil communities, however, accused the multi national corporations of criminally precipitating the crisis by not doing what they are supposed to do and implored the state and federal governments to prevail on the oil companies to address their grievances.
They also pleaded with the state government to facilitate the release of their members who have been in detention.
Kingsley Uju, deputy chief of staff to governor Okorocha, who is the chairman of the Disarmament Committee and an indigene of Ohaji Egbema Council, regretted that since 1953 when oil giants commenced operations in these communities, they had failed to address the yearnings and aspirations of the indigenes, hence, the frequent outburst of youth restiveness in these areas.