ByÂ Daniel Gumm
WARRIâ€”THE National President of Itsekiri National Youths Council (INYC), Mr. David Tonwe,Â has expressed deep satisfaction over the response of Itsekiri communities with arms to the present amnesty programme of theÂ Federal Government, given the willingness of these communities to make available all the illegal weapons in their possessions for onward transmission to the appropriate authorities.
Addressing newsmen in Warri after a consultative meeting with leaders of the zonal structure of the youths body and heads of communities, who were believed to be in possession of arms, Mr.Tonwe noted that few Itsekiri communities were forced into keeping arms for defensive purpose as a result of the havoc that were visited on them between 1997 and 2004 by their ethnic neighbours.
He appealed to such communities to cooperate with the youths body and avail themselves of the opportunity to rid Itsekiriland of all illegal arms and ammunitions as â€œkeeping such arms remain strewed with unfathomable multifaceted danger.â€
According to the youths leader, â€œthere is no doubt that these Itsekiri communities have every reason to be skeptical of the sincerity of the military and police to give them adequate protection, given how both institutions for whatever reason folded their arms and allowed Itsekiri towns and villages to be invaded and devastated with inestimable Itsekiri killed and beheaded in the full glare of those that were supposed to protect them.â€
Tonwe noted that the present leadership of the Joint Task Force deserved to be given the benefit of doubt in view of their modest achievements so far in peace-keeping in Itsekirirland; adding that Itsekiri communities have no reason to unnecessarily saddled themselves with keeping of illegal arms.
Earlier in their speech, a spokesman of the communities thanked the youths body for their initiative and promised the cooperation of these communities hoping that governments would be committed to protecting â€œthe now defenceless communities.â€
In an exclusive interview with Vanguard, Mr. Tonwe said, â€œwe are on courseÂ towards riding our lands of illegal weapons and I hope that the Federal Government will accommodate Itsekiri youths in all training programmes planned and embarked on massive road constructions in Itsekirilands.â€