Hundreds of Don Wanney’s fighters, who had earlier rejected all government’s overtures to them to surrender their arms have finally done so.
They surrendered their arms including explosives, rocket launchers and high-calibre rifles such as AK-47, at Heroes Square yesterday.
Before the event, Governor Rochas Okorocha had earlier told journalists, who met with him at the Government House, that he had been busy with several phone calls about the success story that the followers of Don Waney had agreed to handover their arms, describing the development as a healthy one since it is believed that it would ensure lasting peace in the oil-producing areas of the state.
The governor remarked that “it is very shocking to note that most of the activists of the Avengers and those of Don Wanney operatives are our sons and daughters from the militancy business and their surrendering arms will end the security challenges we have in the Ohaji/Egbema, Awara and the rest of the areas where people have been on self-exile for many years”.
He said “Today we are welcoming back our brothers and sisters who have remained in the creeks and forest for so many years perpetuating all kinds of evil, killing and maiming human beings.
“But today, glory to God, these our children have decided on their own to come back to the society and be part of the society.
“They are doing so on their own, surrendering arms which they have used in committing criminal activities for what they called expression of grievances of different sorts.
“We, as a government, are happy particularly that these young boys and girls will now come back as good citizens of Imo State. We are here to receive them and listen to them.
“What they say today will determine the role of government in assisting them and making sure they become good citizens once more. It is the wish of the Niger Delta people to welcome you back as good citizens.
“You could recall that three weeks ago the notorious kingpin Don Waney was killed and most of these boys are his colleagues and generals in the bush. Today, we are gladdened that the lives of these boys have not been left in the hands of the Military and Police who would have wasted them but today they are been reintegrated into our society to become good citizens.”
He continued: “We as a government that is sensitive to the plights of the people are here to intervene before the matter gets out of hand. Last year and last two years we did a similar exercise and most of those youths are now doing well.
“We want to remove terror from Ohaji/Egbema. This is one of my campaign promises, that I will change the lives of Ohaji/Egbema people. Terror is going out from the region.
“These are the children that drove away their traditional rulers, parents and brothers but today the story is different. We don’t want to hear the stories of Avengers and Don Wanney again,
“The state has forgiven them and will subsequently give their names to the Federal Government for amnesty.”
In his speech, Don Wanney’s fourth in command, ‘General’ Red Squad, whose real name is Emenike Agamu, said the militancy group led by the late Waney killed several people and blew up many oil pipelines.