Rivers State Amnesty Program; Over 20,000 Cultists Embrace Amnesty

Rivers State Amnesty Program; Over 20,000 Cultists Embrace Amnesty
Rivers State Amnesty Program; Over 20,000 Cultists Embrace Amnesty
Rivers State Amnesty Program; Over 20,000 Cultists Embrace Amnesty

Rivers State Amnesty Program; Over 20,000 Cultists Embrace Amnesty

Over 20,000 cultists in Rivers State gave up arms and subscribed to the state’s amnesty programme in the last 60 days, the Chairman of the programme said on Tuesday.
The figure was given in a report of the Rivers State Amnesty Committee submitted to the Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike.
It also stated that thousands of ammunition and explosives were recovered within 60 days of intense and sometimes dangerous work of disarming and enlisting thousands of cultists into the Rivers State Amnesty Programme.
The final report was submitted by the Chairman of the Amnesty Committee, Kenneth Chinda.
According to him, the exercise, which took place in all the local government areas in the state, saw the enlistment of over 20,000 ex-cu In his final report presentation, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Amnesty, who also doubles as the Chairman of the Amnesty Committee, noted that cult groups were found in all the local government areas.
Giving a narrative of what the report covers, he said: “The following findings were made by the committee; cult groups exist in all local governments in the state; some communities have weapons with which they prosecute communal wars; community vigilante groups are also cult groups; the major reasons behind these cult groups include communal wars, chieftaincy tussle, economic hardship and sheer criminality; the battle for supremacy among these cult groups led to many killings in the near past and these cult groups were heavily armed attested to by the number of arms recovered from them”.
 ltists on the programme, with thousands of arms and ammunition as well some explosives recovered.
The exercise many times had cultists in their usual unruly nature arrive venues of the amnesty programme put together by the Rivers State government to last within two months.
Mr Chinda further gave some recommendations.
“All arms recovered in this exercise should be burnt in a symbolic burn fire. This we believe will build public confidence and also the confidence of investors in the security situation in the state.
“All armed community vigilante groups should be disbanded because they are cult groups.
“All communities still holding arms should be directed to submit same and the laws regulating the ownership of guns should be made more stringent,” he stated.
In his response, the Governor, who appeared impressed, noted that the report was a clear indication of a detailed work done within the time frame.
“We have just heard the committee report which is a detailed report.
“I can assure you that the government from the Executive Council through the Security Council will swing into action immediately. But before that, to show that government is serious, I hereby disband all vigilante groups in all the communities except they have been profiled by the security agencies not to be cult groups. That is important so that people will know that we are very serious.
“Initially, people said it was a political game that we want to use this opportunity to release people that will support them during the election.
“You and I know… Look at the number of AK-47s, GMPs. If you have 70 AK-47s in this state, you know what will happen,” Governor Wike told the Amnesty Committee.
Governor Wike further shut the door against those who failed to take up the amnesty offered and asked security agencies to bring them to justice.
“I want to say for those who refused to come out to accept the amnesty programme, I direct the security agencies to go after them, because the time for the amnesty is over.
“We are going to take the wars to them now. Since you had the opportunity to accept amnesty and you refused, you have become enemy of the state. We will fight to the last to make sure that criminality is brought to the barest minimum,” he promised.
Going forward, some say the next challenge will be to sustain the security gains so far for the peace and prosperity of the state.

 

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