Following the prompt intervention of the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Gerald Irona, all the parties in the renewed violence in Ohaji, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State at the weekend accepted to end every form of hostility unconditionally.
Rising from a two-day meeting in the Deputy Governor’s ancestral home, Oguta, the militants agreed to forgo all their grievances and immediately end every form of hostility in the area.
Speaking during the meeting, Irona frowned at the renewed violence in the area in spite of subsisting amnesty from the State Government.
He reiterated that the State Government may not hesitate to cancel the amnesty programme if hostilities and cult-related violence continue.
He said: “I invited you to discuss the security challenge in your area.
“I want to know what really the problem is.
“Why are you people making trouble again after receiving amnesty?
“The government decided to give you benefit of the doubt.
“We are not interested in witch hunting anyone.
“No government will fold its arms and allow her citizens terrorised, harassed and killed under whatever guise.
“Whatever the issue is, we shall not patronise criminals.
“The hostility must end immediately and unconditionally.”
After discussions that lasted for two days, all the warring parties accepted the Deputy Governor’s proposal of an unconditional end to every form of hostility in the area.
They expressed gratitude to the Governor of Imo State, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha, and Irona for the decision to dialogue with them instead of outright hostility, promising to turn a new leaf.
Reacting to the development, Chairman, Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, Magnus Obido, expressed gratitude to the State Government for its swift intervention, even as he charged the militant youth to turn a new leaf.
Obido described the latest violence in the area as unfortunate, warning that only peace and civilised behaviour can guarantee meaningful development of the area.
Part of the resolutions is that the militants will go back home to preach the gospel of reconciliation, while taking steps to ensure the return of community members that fled as a result of the renewed violence.
It would be recalled that a delegation of Awarra and Ochia communities of Ohaji in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State last Friday called on Irona for help in addressing the perennial security challenge in the area.
The militants were involved in a supremacy battle, which left the affected communities deserted.
The meeting was attended by critical stakeholders from the area, among whom are: member representing Ohaji/Egbema State Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Heclus Okoro; Chairman, Transition Committee, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area, Hon. Damian Ezeruo; Obido; ex-agitators; and youth leaders.