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Restive youths in Ondo embrace FG’s amnesty

The Federal Government, at the wake of the crisis in the Niger-Delta region, had sent military troops under the Joint Task Force (JTF) to curtail…

The Federal Government, at the wake of the crisis in the Niger-Delta region, had sent military troops under the Joint Task Force (JTF) to curtail activities of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND).

However, President Yar’adua granted amnesty to the militants with the condition of submitting their weapons.

The presidential panel on amnesty is headed by the Minister of Interior, General Godwin Abe (rtd) while Air Vice-Marshal Larry Ararile is appointed the National Coordinator for the implementation panel.

Ararile, who led a presidential team to Ondo State Oil Producing Area of Ilaje and Ese-Odo, last Wednesday, preached the gospel of the amnesty to the militants at Igbokoda civic centre, advising them to sheath their swords.

He said the price for releasing the arms by the militants was freedom. The meeting was attended by traditional rulers, politicians, opinion leaders and youths in the areas.

The national coordinator urged the militants to lay down their arms, promising that government would assist them.

Already, two areas had been designated for Arms Collection and Re-integration Centre in the State. They are Ugbonla, in Ilaje Local Government, and Omapere Community, in Ese-Odo area.

The state government has also set up its committee on the amnesty, headed by Secretary to the State Government, Mr Rotimi Adelola.

Speaking to Oodua Trust after the meeting, the state coordinator for the amnesty, Rotimi Olamide, said the federal government had fixed August 6 to October 4 as the period for arms collection from the militants.

He said President Yar’adua was sincere with the amnesty, urging the militants to embrace peace. Olamide expressed delight that the youths in the Niger-Delta communities in Ondo State appeared convinced on the need for peace after listening to the National Coordinator Ararile. He urged them to submit their weapons at one of the two designated centres in the communities.