September 29, 2009

250 militants in Warri North surrender arms

By Emma Arubi
WARRI—OVER 250 militants from Egbema kingdom in Warri North local government area of Delta State yesterday in Koko, headquarters of the council, turned in 71assorted guns, dynamite and explosives in acceptance of the Federal Government’s amnesty to beat the October 4 deadline.

Leader of the militants, General Ezekiel Akpasibewei, and head of the Lagos Junction Camp in the Benin River axis of the state, said since they have decided to surrender the weapons and accept the amnesty offered by the government, it was now for the government to show sincere commitment by fulfilling its promise to develop the oil rich region.

He advised all unrepentant militants to surrender their weapons and give peace a chance to make way for massive infrastructural development of the area.

He also reminded the government that failure to meet its obligation to the people would certainly re-awaken the spirit of militancy.

General Akpasibewei appealed to the federal government to order the military to desist henceforth from treating them as conquered people in the waterways by always requesting them to raise up their hands in total surrender while plying the routes in the course of the normal business and daily living.

The arms and ammunitions were received at the Council Secretariat by Lt. Commander Chindu Yahaya, the amnesty Co-coordinator and Camp Commandant in Delta State, who expressed the federal government’s readiness to address the issues that led to agitations in the region.

Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, who was represented by his Senior Special Adviser on Land Security Matters, Chief Sheriff Oborovwori, and Deacon Shola Mese of the FBI security, applauded the spirit with which the militants accepted the amnesty.

He said it was with the co-operation of the leaders and youths of the area that the August event was realized and promised to immediately accept them into the rehabilitation camp for re-orientation in fulfillment of government’s promise.

Warri North Council boss, Mr. Godwin Ebosa, said with the submission of arms, free waterway movement was now assured and thanked the leaders of the group for keeping to their promise.

However, the event was almost marred by the absence of the state governor for almost three hours, with Gen. Akpasibewei insisting “no governor, no arms submission”.

It took the combined efforts of all the leaders of the community, government officials and the military team to persuade him to accede to arms surrender after another round of in-house negotiations.