Rivers State government at the weekend told youths of Ogoniland that no one would be considered for the state’s amnesty programme until such had surrendered his weapons, reiterating government’s position that ‘no submission of weapons, no amnesty.’
The government said genuine amnesty would take place only when those being considered for forgiveness had turned away from their evil ways and surrendered their weapons. Chairman of the Rivers State Amnesty Committee, Ken Chinda, who stated this at a security stakeholders’ meeting in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area, at the weekend, appealed to cultists in Ogoni to utilise the second amnesty programme in the state in the interest of peace and security.
Recently, there had been violent clashes among the various cult groups in Ogoni, resulting in the killing of many and an atmosphere of insecurity in areas where these clashes took place. Governor Nyesom Wike had at the Igwurata Shooting Range in Ikwerre Local Government Area during the destruction of the arms recovered from hoodlums during the first amnesty, directed the amnesty office to organise a second amnesty programme in Ogoniland.
The killings in Ogoni had forced critical stakeholders in the area to appeal for the extension of the programme, which first phase cultists in Ogoni toyed with by refusing to surrender their weapons.
At the Bori meeting last Saturday, Amnesty Committee Chairman, Chinda, told Ogoni people that amnesty would be extended to the youth of Khana, but emphasised the need for sincerity.
He said: “This second opportunity for amnesty is gold Ogoni youths must grab to end the killings in their land. The leaders are meeting with me next week Wednesday. “Cultists should not mess this second window His Excellency has given to them up. This opportunity may elude them if they don’t surrender their weapons. There is nothing like amnesty without the surrendering of weapons.
“We will continue to sound it loud and clear on the need for the youth of Ogoni to surrender their weapons.” Chinda said the next port of call for the amnesty committee is Gokana Local Government Area, where he was expected to meet another set of stakeholders.
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