By Chidi Nkwopara – Owerri
All the warring parties, militants in the renewed violence in the Ohaji area of the Ohaji-Egbema local government area of Imo State, have unconditionally accepted to end all forms of hostility.Militants
he resolution followed a two-day dialogue put together by the state Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona, in his Oguta country home.
Addressing the warring factions earlier, Irona frowned at the renewed hostilities in Ohaji area, despite the subsisting amnesty granted them by the state government.
Irona said: “The State Government will not hesitate to cancel the amnesty programme, if hostilities and cult-related violence continues. I invited you to discuss the security challenge in your area. I want to know what the problem really is. Why are you people stoking trouble again, after receiving amnesty?”
According to the Deputy Governor, the state government decided to give the militants benefit of the doubt, stressing that the present administration was not interested to witch hunt any person or group.
“No government will fold its arms and allow her citizens terrorized, harassed, maimed or killed under whatever guise. Whatever the issue is, we shall not patronize criminals. The hostility must end immediately and unconditionally”, Engr. Irona said.
Vanguard gathered that at the end of the meeting, the warring parties accepted the unconditional end to hostilities, as put forward by Irona.
The militants expressed gratitude to Imo State Governor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha and his Deputy, Engr. Gerald Irona, for the decision to dialogue with them, instead of outright hostility, promising to turn a new leaf.
They also agreed to go back home and preach the gospel of reconciliation, while taking steps to ensure the return of people that are currently taking refuge in other communities, as a result of the renewed violence.
Reacting to the development, Chairman, Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, ISOPADEC, Barr. Magnus Obido, expressed gratitude to the State Government for its swift intervention, even as he charged the militant youths to turn a new leaf.
“The latest violence in the area is unfortunate. Only peace and civilized behavior can guarantee meaningful development of the area,” Obido said.
Vanguard not only recalls that a delegation of Awarra and Ochia communities of Ohaji, last Friday, called on the Deputy Governor for help in addressing the perennial security challenge in the area, but also revealed that “the militants were involved in a supremacy battle, which left the affected communities deserted”.Related