Incessant kidnapping and armed robbery may soon be a thing of the past in Rivers State, as about 2,000 cult members embraced the amnesty declared by the state government.
The cult members laid down their weapons in the presence of the state’s Amnesty Committee at Isiokpo, the headquarters of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state on Saturday.
The cultists had held the state in the jugular for a while through cult wars, kidnappings and armed robbery.
Weapons such as AK 47 rifles, G3, dane guns, dynamite, NATO gun and detonators were surrendered.
The Chairman of the committee, Ken Chinda, while speaking after the event, expressed optimism that peace would return to Ikwerre with the surrender.
According to Chinda, the cult groups that surrendered included Iceland and Debam, adding that the state government would help them to pursue their dreams while also admonishing them not to go back to crimes.
He however said soldiers would go after cultists who refuse to embrace the state amnesty programme put in place by the state Governor, Nyesom Wike.
Chinda also declared two cult leaders wanted for shunning the amnesty programme. According to him, Samuel Nkasiobi, aka Italian, and Okechukwu Amadi, aka Gunboat are now enemies of the state.
He said: “We are all witnesses to what some misguided youths have done in Ikwerre LGA where people are predominantly farmers. Many could not farm because the militants are living in the forest where their farms are located.”
The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ikwerre LGA, Mr. Samuel Nwanosike, in his speech, said the repentance of the cult members would allow farmers to return to their farms.
Nwanosike also disclosed that the sum of N10m would be paid to anybody that could give any information on the whereabouts of the two cult leaders that have been declared wanted.
By Timothy Enietan-Matthews….
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