THE Chairman of the media and Public Enlightenment of the Ondo State Amnesty Programme, Mr Donald Ojogo, on Monday reiterated the commitment of the state government to ensure peace in the coastal communities of the state.
Ojogo, who stated this in a Press statement issued and signed by him in Akure, Ondo State capital, assured the Armed militants that none of them would be harassed or arrested by security agencies while laying down the arms.
According to him, only armed militants from the coastal areas of the state would benefit from the new amnesty programme unveiled by the state government last state week.
Ojogo, who is the state commissioner for lands and Housing, said the programme was not designed for political patronage but to score cheap political score but to ensure peace in the coastal area of the state.
Ojogo said that the Committee had not allocated any slots to any politician in the state, saying that the stories allocating slots to politicians were unfounded and was aimed to cause distraction in the ongoing amnesty programme.
Ojogo said all the interested militants would be included in the ongoing amnesty programme in the state and assured all the armed youths to imbibe the code of ethics of the process,
He said the clarifications became necessary to allay the fear of the militants and to show that the Amnesty package for the militants was a product of the determination of the State Governor to ensure peace.
The statement read in part “We emphasise at this point that stories such as the allocation of slots to politicians were distractions just as they are wholly unfounded.
“For one, the commitment of the state governor to this programme underscores his determination for peace and security in the riverine areas of the state.
“The State Amnesty Committee, therefore, wishes to allay such fears that have been erroneously expressed in certain quarters. This is a programme that was brought about by the combination of strong political will, interagency/intergovernmental synergy and meticulous planning, among others.
“As such the Committee is prepared to give whatever it takes to make the process diligent, transparent and applaudable. Governor Akeredolu had made it clear that the exercise is neither an empowerment programme nor political largesse or patronage. That is the beacon of our activities, no more, no less.”
Meanwhile, some armed youths who are targets have expressed readiness to submit their arms and embrace peace.
A leader of one of the militants’ groups, Osuwo Osiyai, in a statement, appreciated the efforts of the Ondo State Governor in the extension of the Amnesty grace to them.
“We are happy to be pardoned and incorporated into the Federal Government Amnesty Programme. We are very grateful to the governor of Ondo State, Akeredolu for his fatherly magnanimity.
“It is our promise to the government of the state that we will continue to sustain the peace and promote harmony among our people. From this day onward, our duty is to cooperate with all law enforcement and security agencies to protect our environment and its people.
“From this moment, and in the spirit of this freedom that was made possible by the Ondo State government, we have resolved to suit our arms and embrace.”