Buhari and state governors during a previous meeting
Worried by the massive arms recovered in riverine communities of Ondo State, President Muhammadu Buhari will on Wednesday meet with nine governors of Niger Delta states in order to review the security situation in the oil producing region of the country. This development was coming on the heels of massive arms haul in Ajapa in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State. High calibre weapons were also surrendered by militants in some communities in Ilaje Local Government Area of the state.
Some of the recovered arms included Browning machine gun, General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), Daewoo K3, Colt Automatic Rifles, Breda 30, Fiat Revelli Modelling, several AK 47 rifles, one Rocket Launcher, CETME Ameli, Heckler & Koch MG4, tens of Pump Action rifles and some automatic cartridges. Also surrendered were military uniforms, police bullet proof vests, dynamites, grenades, bombs and helmets.
The arms were turned in by the kidnappers of the six students of Igbonla Model College, Epe, Lagos State. The proposed meeting, according to a top security source, became necessary because it was widely believed that aside the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), no group had the capacity to pull through a massive arms hold as witnessed in the state last week.
The meeting, which is being coordinated by the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mallam Lawal Daura, the source said, would have in attendance governors of the nine oil-producing states as well as security chiefs and top government personnel from the oil-rich states and the Presidency.
The source said: “What we saw was like a film, no one ever envisaged that these young boys would amass these qualities of weapons and keep. It is highly embarrassing, to say the least. “As soon as the photographs were released alongside the story and it was confirmed that those arms were from that community, aside several others that were recovered from other villages, the president ordered that an appraisal be done immediately.
“That is why all the governors of the Niger Delta and the security chiefs will meet on Wednesday because no one had any inkling that apart from the avengers, any such group could muster this massive hold of weapons.
“It is a thing of great concern and worry to every responsible government, because some of the weapons the militants surrendered are not just arms even a country can easily procure, it takes a process. So the question is: how did these boys get to this level?
“Some of us are already briefing authorities as more efforts should be made by all the governors of the region to adopt the Ondo model to mop up arms because there are likely to be more dangerous groups with far more sophisticated weapons at their disposal,” he said.
The source added that the reason for the meeting was to put in place a machinery to ascertain whether or not there are more of such groups who have yet to turn in their weapons. “It is also to evaluate the Ondo State Amnesty Initiative and see whether same could be replicated in other states of the oilrich enclave,” he said. (New Telegraph)