AKURE — Ondo State Government on Thursday granted amnesty to all Niger/Delta militants in the state, urging them to embrace the programme.
Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu who announced the amnesty in Akure on Thursday, said an amnesty office has already been opened in Akure, the state capital with centres in five oil communities of Ilaje and Ese-Odo Local Government Areas.
Akeredolu gave the militants 21 days ultimatum to submit their arms at any of the amnesty offices in the state.
He hailed the federal government’s support for the amnesty programme, stressing that his deputy, Agboola Ajayi has been appointed the chairman of the committee on the amnesty programme.
According to him, the committee would also work with the office of the Special Adviser to the president on Niger Delta Affairs, who is also the chairman of the federal government’s amnesty programme.
The governor urged traditional rulers to support the amnesty programme, while calling on the militants to embrace the programme in the interest of peace and development of the state.
He maintained that Amnesty programme would not be run in palaces, but by the committee members assigned by the state government.
The militants numbering 100 openly signified their intention to submit their arms at the event attended by the acting governor of Delta State and representative of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs
Akeredolu said the state government would henceforth take punitive measures to curtail militancy in the state.
He said, “Our country cannot continue to be in crisis. It is time we embrace peace and shun crisis.”
He assured that the state government would provide jobs for militants who willingly surrender their arms, adding that the government would also organize trainings for them to make them relevant in the society.
The Olugbo of Ugbo, Oba Fredrick Akinruntan , who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers advised the government to ensure that only genuine militants benefit from the amnesty programme.
He also stressed the need for the government to appoint only indigenes of the oil producing areas of the state as officials of the amnesty programme.