By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRI—All warring parties in the renewed violence in the Ohaji area of Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State have unconditionally accepted to end all forms of hostility.
The resolution followed a two-day dialogue put together by the state Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona in his Oguta country home.
Addressing the warring factions earlier, Irona frowned at the renewed hostilities in Ohaji area, despite the subsisting amnesty granted them by the state government.
Irona said: “The state government will not hesitate to cancel the amnesty programme, if hostilities and cult-related violence continues. I invited you to discuss the security challenge in your area. I want to know what the problem really is. Why are you people stoking trouble again, after receiving amnesty?”
According to the Deputy Governor, the state government decided to give the warring parties benefit of the doubt, stressing that the present administration was not interested in witch-hunting any person or group.
His words: “No government will fold its arms and allow her citizens to be terrorised, harassed, maimed or killed under whatever guise. Whatever the issue is, we shall not patronise criminals. The hostility must end immediately and unconditionally.”
Vanguard gathered that at the end of the meeting, the warring parties accepted the unconditional end to hostilities, as put forward by Irona.
The militants expressed gratitude to Imo State Governor, Emeka Ihedioha, and his Deputy, Irona, for the decision to dialogue with them instead of outright hostility, promising to turn a new leaf.
They also agreed to go back home and preach the gospel of reconciliation, while ensuring the return of people that are taking refuge in other communities.
Reacting, Chairman, Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, ISOPADEC, Magnus Obido, expressed gratitude to the state government for its swift intervention, even as he charged the militant youths to turn a new leaf.