Militants, believed to be behind the kidnap of the six Senior Secondary School Students of Lagos Model College,Igbonla, Epe in Lagos State and the vandalization of oil pipelines in Arepo near Lagos, including several attacks in the south West, Wednesday, submitted their arms and ammunition in Ondo State to embraced the Federal Government Amnesty Programme.
This is also as no fewer than 100 youths on Wednesday renounced their membership of various secret cult groups in Ikorodu area of Lagos.
The event which was witnessed by the Lagos state acting Police Commissioner, Imohimi Edgal, at Imota, was the second time this month suspected cultists came out publicly to embrace peace in Ikorodu district.
According to Edgal, their change of attitude was as a result of his community policing and neighbourhood partnership strategies, which were winning back the people’s trust.
Assuring that no criminal charges would be brought against them, the police chief noted that the youths voluntarily gave up arms and were desirous of reintegration.
He said: “The boys will be reintegrated into the society after being empowered with various skills. They had voluntarily renounced cultism and surrendered to the police.
“The importance of this denouncement is not for those doing it but for the society at large. What is significant is that the process for youths to show interest in denouncing cultism and taking up jobs, skills has started.
“I expect more youths to follow suit because this would mean that there are less arms in wrong hands and crime rate would drop.
“This is a clear and visible evidence that our community policing and community safety partnership is achieving result.”
Commending the traditional rulers for supporting the police to contain violent crimes in the district, Edgal appealed to the monarchs to prevail on their subjects to shun cultism and drug abuse.
In Ondo the militants were led by their leader, Ogailo Iborry Young a.k.a O.C to the Collection and Documentation of Arms Centre in Ajapa Community, Ese-Odo area of the state.
The Deputy Governor and Chairman of State Amnesty Committee, Agboola Ajayi, representatives of Delta State Government, Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operation Base, Igbokoda, Navy Captain Usman Yahaya, witnessed the ceremony.
Arms willingly submitted by the ex-warlords include browning wz machine gun, Daewoo K3, Colt Automatic Rifles, General Purpose Machine gun, Breda 30, Fiat Revelli Modelling, AK 47 rifles, rocket launcher, CETME Ameli, heckler & koch MG4, pump action and some automatic cartridges.
Also, military uniforms, police bullet proof vests, dynamite, grenades, bombs and helmets were submitted.
Speaking, Iborry Young appreciated the state and the Federal Government for the fresh amnesty initiative.
He traced the source of their arms to the Ijaw/Ilaje crisis of 1998/1999 and blamed joblessness, poverty and neglect by government for their actions.
“lf we may be asked our reasons for embarking on this struggle, our simple answer to the public and other concerned authorities is that it is joblessness, suffering, poverty, oppression and neglect by the government.”
He said they decided to “dump their oil bunkering business and hatched another game plan to attract the attention of the government.
“As it got to this point, we did not find life very easy. Thus, we relocated to Ogun State where the government college Ugbonla, Epe school boys were kidnapped whose release led to the present arrangement through the courageous efforts of the Deputy Governors of Ondo and Delta states.
”We did not kidnap these boys for mere ransom but to negotiate our freedom and full reintegration to civil life”.
The Ondo State Deputy Governor, Agboola Ajayi, said the exercise was impressive as sophisticated arms and ammunition were surrendered.
He added that “Looking at the sophisticated guns and ammunition surrendered, I am happy that they (militants) made promise and fulfilled it,” he said.
Ajayi assured the readiness of the Federal Government to fulfil its own promise in providing employment and education programme among others for the repentant militants for them to be self-reliance if they embraced peace.