There was celebration in the Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State when about 500 gang members who had been terrorising the area renounced cultism, submitted their arms and promised to be of good behaviour.
The Chairman of the Andoni Area Traditional Rulers Council, HRM King Job Nabiget JP, who led other traditional rulers to witness an oath-taking ceremony of the group, expressed joy that peace had been restored in the community.
Andoni in recent times has been a hotbed of cultism, kidnapping, among other criminal activities.
Nabiget advised the repentant gang members not to return to crime after denouncing it, even as he promised to assist the local government authorities to ensure they were engaged meaningfully.
“They will not lay their arms and stay idle without doing anything. I will find companies and make those who are to be trained to get trained and those who are to work will work.
“So they can be meaningfully employed and have something to maintain themselves for them not to go back to that type of bad life they were living before in the bush,” he added.
In his remarks, the Andoni LGA Chairman, Erastus Awortu, described the ceremony as the climax of efforts by traditional rulers and his administration to address the root causes of insecurity in the area.
Awortu said he was already reaching out to some companies in the area to engage some of the repentant gang members.
“Very soon, we are going to pass a bylaw restricting the haunting and felling of trees in Andoni LGA,” the council boss stated, adding that some of the youth would become forest guards.