A gang of suspected kidnappers allegedly involved in the recent abduction of school pupils in Epe area of Lagos State have surrendered their arms in the ongoing amnesty exercise in Ondo State.
Some of the militants and others who at one time were terrorising parts of Lagos, Ogun and Ondo States finally submitted their arms and ammunition on Monday evening as part of the ongoing Federal Government’s amnesty programme.
A source said the type of weapons surrendered by the militants were so sophisticated that one could only wonder how they were able to gain access to them.
The gang which stood out was said to be that behind the kidnap of six Senior Secondary School Students of Lagos Model College, Igbonla, Epe in Lagos State; Arepo pipeline vandalisation; and several attacks in the riverine areas of Ondo State.
Led by their leader, Ogailo Iborry Young (also known as O.C.) to the Collection and Documentation of Arms Centre in their hometown, Ajapa community in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of the state, they were said to have dropped their arms and ammunition.
The event was witnessed by the state Deputy Governor and Chairman of State Amnesty Committee, Hon. Agboola Ajayi, representatives of Delta State Government, and the Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operation Base, Igbokoda, Navy Captain Usman Yahaya, among others.
Arms submitted included Browning wz machine gun, Daewoo K3, colt automatic rifles, general purpose machine gun, Breda 30, Fiat Revelli modelling, AK 47 rifles, rocket launchers, CETME Ameli, Heckler & Koch MG4, pump action and some automatic cartridges.
Also, military uniforms, Police bullet proof vests, dynamites, grenades, bombs and helmets were submitted.
In his address, Young appreciated the state and the Federal Governments for the fresh Amnesty initiative.
He traced the source of their arms to the Ijaw/Ilaje crisis of 1998/1999 and blamed joblessness, poverty and neglect by the government as some of the reasons for their action.
He said: “If we are asked the reasons for embarking on this struggle, our simple explanation to the public and other concerned authorities is that it is joblessness, suffering, poverty, oppression and neglect by the government.”
The leader of the repentant armed bandits said they decided to dump their oil bunkering business and hatched another game plan to attract the attention of the government.
According to him, “we did not find life very easy. So, we relocated to Lagos State where the Epe school boys were kidnapped whose release led to the present arrangement through the courageous efforts of the deputy governors of Ondo and Delta States.
Residents said they see the amnesty deal as a way of restoring peace to the riverine area. (Daily Trust)