Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha
Gibson Achonu, Owerri
A militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers of Imo
State origin, on Wednesday stormed the
Government House, Owerri, in trucks where they
surrendered their arms and ammunition including
AK47 rifles to the state Governor, Rochas
The ex-militants, who arrived the seat of power
around 12pm in white T-shirts with the inscription,
“Disarmament of Agitators, Powered by the Niger
Delta Youths Volunteer Peace Advocacy”, chanted
Niger Delta songs. They also castigated oil
companies operating in their communities for their
insensitivity to the plight of their people.
In the presence of security agencies comprising
the police, the Army, the Department of State
Services and the Civil Defence Corps, the Deputy
Chief of Staff to Okorocha and the Chairman,
Disarmament Committee, Mr. Kingsley Uju, said
that the occasion was in response to the mandate
given to the committee by the governor to find a
lasting solution to youth restiveness in the oil-
bearing Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta local government
areas of the state.
Uju, an indigene of the Ohaji Egbema Council Area,
however, regretted that since 1953 when the oil
giants commenced operations in the communities,
they had failed to address the yearnings and
aspirations of the indigenes, hence the frequent
outburst of youth restiveness in the areas .
He also regretted the people’s predicament which
arose from their wanton neglect by the oil
companies that had often led to violent
confrontations. He commended the youths for
finally embracing peace by laying down their arms,
as directed by the governor.
The aggrieved youths, who later spoke through
their respective leaders, accused the multi-national
corporations of criminally precipitating confusion
among their people. They said there was neither
pipeline surveillance nor a Niger Delta
Development Commission’s presence in their
areas, unlike what happened in the neighbouring
Rivers and Delta states.
They further pledged that a oilfield had come to
prevail in the troubled oil communities but pleaded
with the state and the Federal Government to
prevail on the oil companies to urgently address
their grievances. They also implored the Imo State
government to release their members still
languishing in detention.
On his part, Okorocha commended the youths for
their “rare display of patriotism”, after he received
the surrendered arms and ammunition. He assured
them that security agencies would no longer
invade their areas.
He also said that their demands, grievances and
agitations would be articulated and forwarded to
the appropriate quarters for prompt attention.