By Anayo Onukwugha |
A group, the Movement for the Survival of Izon Ethnic Nationality in the Niger Delta (MOSIEND), has attributed the rise in cult clashes in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and other parts of the state, to the failure of state government to fully implement the disarmament, debriefing and reorientation (DDR) initiative when it granted amnesty to repentant cultists and militants in 2016.
LEADERSHIP Sunday observed that no fewer than 10 people have been killed in the past five days in the Diobu area of Port Harcourt, following battle of supremacy between two rival cult groups, Deygbam and Iceland.
MOSIEND, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, yesterday, by its national director of Mobilisation, Alhaji Abubakar Amaigo Brown and the chief security officer to its president, Comrade George Okitikpi, stated that mere disarming of repentant cultists and militants was not where the DDR initiative ends.
The statement reads in part: “It is pertinent to note that these young men killing themselves today across the state were all part of the 22,430 repentant cultists the state governor, Nyesom Wike, had disarmed and publicly granted amnesty in 2016.
“Unfortunately, the governor failed to implement critical areas of the disarmament initiative, such as demobilisation, reorientation, as well as reintegration aspects of the programme.
“Disarming repentant militants and cultists is not where the process of DDR ends. It takes sincerity of purpose and political will to drive the exercise to a logical conclusion for overall success.
Reorientation, dialogue and continuous engagements are integral parts of demobilisation.
“We sincerely believe that if the repentant cultists were given the requisite nonviolence training and orientation, they would have been transformed in thoughts and deeds, thereby, reducing fatalities recorded as a result of unnecessary cult wars which keep claiming lives of young men in the state.
“We call on government at all levels to act responsibly and stop taking the citizens for granted. The poverty situation in Niger Delta can best be described as suffocating with little or nothing being done by government to empower the people and give them a new lease of life.
“We warn that if nothing urgent is done to alleviate the sufferings of the people, we might have a semblance of revolution, which may provoke the young people to go after political elites who have kept them in this debilitating condition that is gradually stretching beyond the limits of human endurance.”