By Samuel Oyadogha
Yenagoaâ€”Another militant leader, Reuben Wilson, operating on the Atlantic fringe of Koluama in the Southern Ijaw council area of Bayelsa has expressed willingness to embrace President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s amnesty offer bringing to five the number of repentant militant leaders in the state.
Wilson said his decision to lay down arms and participate in the peace process was to ensure dialogue in order to actualize the developmental needs of the area.
He lamented that in spite of the contributions of the 200 oil wells in Koluama clan to the nationâ€™s economy and playing host to multinationals like Chevron/Texaco, Agip and Conoil, the communities of Koluama I and II lacked amenities.
According to him, the utter neglect of the community, unabated ocean encroachment, lack of medical facilities and unemployment of the youths were reasons why he and his followers took up arms against the Federal Government.
He noted with sadness that in Koluama I, the only dilapidated primary school building was erected in 1911 with leaking roof, broken doors and windows, saying the building was not conducive for learning.
Wilson stated further that in spite of hosting the offshore Agbami fields, the largest deep water oil facility in the West Africa sub region, the lot of the youths is fishing from which they could barely eke out a living.
The community he lamented also boasts a dug out well with greenish water, which is the only source of drinking water in the community, as Chevron had abandoned a water project it earlier embarked upon in the community.
He expressed concern that unless the federal government addresses the menace of ocean encroachment, the community would be wiped out as only a strip of sandy beach separates the community from the raging Atlantic Ocean .
Wilson explained that he had already forwarded a formal letter of acceptance of amnesty to Saraki Bello, Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF) through the Bayelsa State commander.
While pledging support for the amnesty deal, he urged the federal government to come down to the coastal communities to confirm the horrible experiences the people are passing through.