By Tope Fayehun, Akure
The Ondo State governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has given a 21 days ultimatum to the militants in the state to lay down their weapons and embrace amnesty.
Akeredolu also announced five submission points for the purpose of collecting the arms from youths who may be willing to surrender their weapons to the government.
The governor stated this during official proclamation of amnesty for Armed Youths in the Niger Delta Areas Of Ondo State by the Federal Government held at International Culture And Event Centre, The DOME, Akure ,the state capital Thursday .
Akeredolu who appealed to the armed youths to desist from making the misery of the people a source of livelihood, noted that no serious investor will consider, the possibility of engaging in any meaningful transaction with the government and the people of a place where security is not assured.
The governor said: “All of us agree that our country can hardly afford any major crisis in the Niger Delta at this period. We are convinced of justness of the cause for the emancipation of the people of this part of the country who have suffered neglect for a long time.
“We share the anxiety of those who perceive the plundering of our lands and waters as akin to genocide. We identify with the aspirations of peasants who have lost their peasantry due to reasons connected to oil exploration.
“We recognise the state of despair which define the circumstances under which our people exist. We believe, beyond rhetoric, that sustained plans of development are required to ameliorate the parlous living condition of our
Akeredolu decried any form of justification for brazen acts of criminality, adding that agitations for the emancipation of the people from the morass of grinding poverty could only be creative and collective.
While giving the submission centre as Ajakpa, Igbokoda, Ugbonla, Igbekebo and Arogbo, the governor
assured that none of them would be harassed or arrested by security agencies while laying down the arms.
He added that resorting to kidnapping, robbery, vandalism of government property and other social vices would hurt the progress and the development of the Niger Delta region.
His words : “The problems of the region have been compounded by brigandage. No serious investor will consider the possibility of engaging in any meaningful transaction with the government and the people of a place where security is not assured.
“An atmosphere of violence attracts hunger, insecurity and wants. Constructive engagement is the answer to decades of neglect.”
The governor, however, urged those who may still wallow in the ignorant belief that a life of crime and uncertainty is a veritable substitute for the collective well-being of the Niger Delta region to seize the opportunity provided by the amnesty to lay down their arms.
He said: “We appeal to them to desist from making the misery of the people a source of livelihood.
“Collective grievances must be presented and addressed for the overall benefit of the people.
Speaking earlier in his welcome address, Ondo State deputy governor, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, who is also the chairman of the state amnesty programme, recalled that the activities of the armed youths had hampered harmony, peaceful coexistence as well as a friendly business environment in the region.
Ajayi said, accepting this Amnesty offer in good faith therefore means that the riverine communities of the state will experience economic boom and commercial posterity.
According to him, “This is more so that in a matter of months, oil drilling activities are likely to commence in the Mahin and Ese-Odo areas of the riverine part of the State.
“This will not just improve the revenue base of the State but will equally enhance the economic activities to the advantage of all youths who will find meaningful things to engage in. No seriousness can be more than what our amiable governor has displayed in this direction.”
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