From Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
No fewer than 20 members of militant groups terrorizing Lagos, Ogun and Ondo states Tuesday surrendered their arms in line with the amnesty programme introduced by the Ondo State government..
Some of the militants were said to be behind the kidnap of the six students of Lagos Model College, Igbonla, Epe in Lagos State and the Arepo pipeline vandalization.
The militants, led by Ogailo Iborry Young willingly surrendered their arms to the Ondo State Deputy Governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi at Ajapa in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of the state.
The arms submitted include: Browning WZ machine gun, Daewoo K3, Colt Automatic Rifles, General Purpose Machine gun, Breda 30, Fiat Revelli Modelling, AK 47 Rifles, Rocket Launcher, CETME Ameli, Heckler & Koch MG4, Pump Action and some Automatic Cartridges.
Also, military uniforms, police bullet proof vests, dynamites, grenades, bombs and helmets were submitted.
Speaking at the brief ceremony attended by representatives of the Delta State government and military personnel, Iborry Young appreciated the state and the federal government for the Amnesty programme.
He traced the source of their arms to the Ijaw/Ilaje crisis of 1998/1999, saying joblessness, poverty and neglect by government were the main reasons why they formed the militant group.
he said: “If asked our reasons for embarking on this struggle, our simple answer is that it is joblessness, suffering, poverty, oppression and neglect by the government. We did not kidnap these boys for mere ransom but to negotiate our freedom and full reintegration to civil life.”
The leader of the repentant armed bandits said they decided to dump their oil bunkering business and hatched another game plan to attract the attention of the government.
In his remarks, the deputy Governor, Mr. Ajayi said the exercise was impressive as sophisticated ammunitions were surrendered.
“Looking at the sophisticated guns and ammunitions surrendered, I am happy that they made promise and fulfilled it,” he said.
Ajayi assured the readiness of the federal government to fulfill its promise in providing employment and education for the ex militants in the Niger Delta region.
He also allayed fear among the people of the coastal part of the state, stressing that the government will not launch attack on the oil producing areas of the state after the submission of arms and ammunitions by the armed youths.