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Ondo govt grants amnesty to kidnappers of Igbonla schoolboys
The abductors of six students of the Lagos Model College, Igbonla, Epe, Lagos State in May have been granted amnesty by the Ondo State Government.
They were among the militants who surrendered their arms to embrace the ongoing state amnesty programme.
The militants have been responsible for several crimes in the riverine area of Ondo, including pipeline vandalization, oil bunkering, kidnapping for ransom and armed robbery.
Led by their leader, Ogailo Young, better known as O.C, the militants surrendered their arms and ammunition at the Collection and Documentation of Arms Centre in Ajakpa Community in Ese-Odo Local Government Area.
Young said he and his men accepted to lay down their arms and embrace the amnesty in order to allow peace to reign in the Niger Delta area of the state.
He said it was joblessness, poverty and neglect by the government that led them into crime.
“If we were asked for the reasons for embarking on this struggle, our simple explanation to the public and other concerned authorities is that it is joblessness, suffering, poverty, oppression and neglect by the government,” Young said.
“As it got to this point, we did not find life very easy, then we relocated to Ogun State where the government college Igbonla, Epe schoolboys were kidnapped; their 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 normal life.”
Also speaking during the exercise, Agboola Ajayi, Deputy Governor of Ondo State and, who also doubles as Chairman of the Amnesty Committee, said he was impressed by the execution of the exercise so far.
“Looking at the sophisticated guns and ammunition surrendered, I’m happy that they (militants) made a promise and fulfilled it,” he said
Ajayi assured the public that the federal and state governments will also fulfill their promises to the militants by introducing programmes capable of making them self-reliant.
He also promised that the government would not launch any attack on the oil-producing areas of the state after the submission of arms and ammunition by the armed youths.
The Igbonla schoolboys — Peter Jonah, Isiaq Rahmon, Adebayo George, Judah Agbausi, Pelumi Philips and Farouq Yusuf — were whisked away by gunmen who broke into their school dormitory on May 25.
They were released two months later, following negotiations between the kidnappers and the boys’ parents who told reporters that they paid a total of N31 million in ransom to their abductors.