Stay away from Rivers, militant leader warns Avengers

A militant leader in the Niger Delta region, ‘General’ Don Waney, emerged from the creeks on Monday and warned members of the Niger Delta Avengers and other militant groups not to come close to Rivers State.

Waney, who said he was ready to surrender his arms and ammunition and embrace the amnesty offered by Governor Nyesom Wike,  urged militant groups in the oil-rich region, including the NDA, to embrace peace and put an end to the destruction of oil facilities.

The militant leader, who is the leader of the Aggrieved Youth Movement, said in Aligwu, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area on Monday that he would fight any militant group that decided to make Rivers its target.

Explaining that the state could not achieve any form of development without peace, Waney added that his group was not into kidnapping or any form of violence.

He stated that his group (AYM) was only agitated as a result of youth unemployment, lack of technical training for manpower development, scholarships, widespread poverty and lack of basic social infrastructure in Niger Delta.

The militant leader said, “On a strong note, we are non-violent and we shall remain so in our collective agitation for a better ONELGA (Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA), Orashi and Rivers State.

“In the light of this, we call on the Niger Delta Avengers group to leave ONELGA and Orashi region out of their targets.

“We are against the bombing and destruction of vital oil and gas installations in our communities. We shall not allow them or any of their type to enter our land.

“We want peace and development and that is what we have signed with Governor Nyesom Wike. Rivers State is peaceful and we do not want outsiders to cause crisis and general insecurity in our state again.”

Commending the state governor for offering amnesty to repentant militants, Waney expressed the need for other aggrieved groups to surrender their arms and embrace peace in order to ensure the growth of Niger Delta.

He said, “We have, accordingly, accepted the amnesty gesture the government has granted us. We salute the governor for his love, for the sanctity of lives of some young people, who may have been deceived in the past.

“We believe that the amnesty will go a long way to transform for good, the lives of these youngsters. We hereby call on other armed groups to embrace the amnesty programme and give up militancy so that together, we can benefit from the development strides of the Rivers State Government.”

He, however, urged the Federal Government to consider repentant militants in the region and ensure that the post-amnesty programme covered oil and gas producing communities.

Earlier in his remark, the President of Omoku Youths, Mr. Kingsley Nonye, had pleaded with the warring factions in the local government area to forget their differences and allow peace to reign.

Nonye also urged oil companies in ONELGA not to neglect the youths, even as he appealed to them to be serious with their corporate social responsibilities.

He observed that the multinational oil firms were using divide-and-rule tactics to deal with the youths of ONELGA.

Courtesy: The PUNCH, by Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

Chukwudi Akasike, Port Harcourt

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