By Dayo Johnson
LEADER of the militants behind the kidnap of the six Senior Secondary School students of Lagos Model College, Igbonla, Epe in Lagos State and the Arepo pipeline vandalization, Ogailo Iborry Young, has blamed joblessness, poverty and neglect by government for their actions.
Iborry said this during the submission of arms and ammunition by his group and others in Ondo State to embrace the Federal Government amnesty programme.
Ondo State Deputy Governor and Chairman of State Amnesty Committee, Agboola Ajayi; representatives of Delta State Government, Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operation Base, Igbokoda, Navy Captain Usman Yahaya witnessed the handover ceremony.
Arms willingly submitted by the ex-warlords include Browning wz machine gun, Daewoo K3, Colt Automatic Rifles, General Purpose Machine gun, Breda 30, Fiat Revelli Modelling, AK 47 Rifles, Rocket Launcher, 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.
The militants, who embraced the amnesty programme, have participated in several nefarious activities in the South-West.
Joblessness, poverty led us to militancy — Iborry
Iborry explained their participation in the Ijaw/Ilaje crisis of 1998/1999 enabled them to be in possession of arms and ammunition.
He was quick to blame government neglect among other issues for their involvement in militancy.
He said: “lf we were asked our reasons for embarking on this struggle, our simple response to the public and other concerned authorities is that it was joblessness, suffering, poverty, oppression and neglect by the government.”
He said they decided to “dump their oil bunkering business and hatched another game plan to attract the attention of the government.”
Speaking further, he said they delved into kidnapping to carter for themselves.
His words: “As it got to this point, we did not find life very easy. Thus, we relocated to Ogun State where the Government College Igbonla, 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. We did not kidnap these boys for mere ransom but to negotiate our freedom and full reintegration to civil life.”
Deputy gov commends militants
Ondo State deputy governor, Agboola Ajayi, who facilitated the exercise, said the handover was impressive as sophisticated ammunitions were surrendered.
He added that “looking at the sophisticated guns and ammunition surrendered, I’m happy that they (militants) made promise and fulfilled it,” he said.
Ajayi assured of the readiness of the Federal Government to fulfil its own promise in providing employment and education programme among others for the repentant militants for them to be self-reliant if they embrace peace.
He rejoiced with residents of Ajapa community for the peace that was finally restored to the community after the face-off between them and the military.
While urging them to always embrace peace, the deputy governor said they needed to embrace peace for oil companies to commence operation in the area.
He allayed fears as no one or government will launch attack on the oil-producing areas of the state after the submission of arms and ammunition by the armed youths.