Leaders of various communities in Ogoni, River State, have expressed worry over the activities of cultists wrecking havoc in the oil-rich Ogoni land
Leaders of various communities in Ogoni, River State, have expressed worry over the activities of cultists wrecking havoc in the oil-rich Ogoni land, especially in Khana Local Government Area.
To find a lasting solution to the menace, Ogoni leaders have issued a 14-day ultimatum to cultists operating in the area to repent and submit themselves to traditional oath-taking in their respective communities.
In a communiqué issued yesterday at the end of a meeting at the palace of the Supreme ruler of Ogoni Traditional Council, Chief Godwin Giniwa at Sakpenwa, the community leaders threatened that failure to take the oath would lead to such persons being ostracised.
The meeting was attended by traditional rulers, elders, political office holders, elected representatives, title holders, religious leaders, women and youth groups.
About 60 persons especially members of rival cult groups were said to have lost their lives in the last one month in the area.
However, they threatened that any Ogoni leader who fails to expose the identities of perpetrators or fails to administer the traditional oaths on their subjects would not only be deposed but treated as accomplices.
The communiqué was signed by His Majesty, King G.N.K. Gininwa, Senator (Dr) Bennett Birabi, Chief Kenneth Kobani, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, Ledum Mitee and HRH, Godwin Bebe Okpabi, among others.
Dedicated telephone numbers were also made available across the four local government areas for people to send credible information on any threat to security in their areas.
The communique reads: “Having reviewed the current deteriorating security situation in Ogoniland, we express profound sadness over and wholeheartedly condemn the spate of killings, cases of cult wars and other criminal activities in parts of Ogoni, especially in Khana LGA, that have created a deep sense of insecurity,
“We hereby warn all those involved in such activities to put an end to such activities forthwith and surrender their arms and all instruments of violence and subject themselves to traditional oaths in their respective communities within 14 days.
“At the expiration of the 14 days, any person who fails to abide by the decision should be declared an enemy of the people and treated as such.
“Leaders of the communities that harbour these criminals or host their camp or fail to administer the traditional oaths on their subjects or fail to expose the identities of perpetrators of these crimes, would not only be deposed, but treated as accomplices.
“We also resolve to send a high powered delegation of the Ogoni leadership to urgently meet with the government to seek their necessary support to drive the peace process, and in particular, with a view to setting up a Special Task Force to track down and appropriately deal with any person that further engages in such nefarious activities.
“We further resolved to convene a meeting with all youth leaders and youth groups to get their buy in and perspectives and thereafter hold another congress, in no distant future, to reappraise the situation as well as address other issues affecting our people,” the communiqué added.
It further urged Ogonis to be vigilant and join the new spirit of unity of purpose being ushered into the land.