BY ANAYO OKOLI
UMUAHIA — GOVERNOR Theodore Orji of Abia State has urged the leadership of Islamic sect, Boko Haram, to identify themselves, come out to discuss with the Federal Government for the amnesty initiative to be successful.
According to the governor, if the amnesty initiative is successful, it will go a long way to help the nation move forward.
Governor Orji, who expressed the views when he received members of the House of Representative Committee on Public Petitions, lamented the negative impact the crisis had had on the nation’s economy.
The lawmakers were in the state to hear the petition of 5000 repentant Abia State youths protesting their non-inclusion in the federal government’s amnesty programme.
Orji said: “We are also praying that the amnesty initiatives of the Federal Government to Boko Haram will be successful. Let them [Boko Haram] come out and talk. It will go a long way to helping Nigeria move forward.”
He noted that though Abia was now peaceful there was a time it had the problem of kidnapping which affected the economic and social activities in the state.
His words: “That time, Abia became the den of kidnappers. Aba became a ghost city. Every body ran away. I visited Abanta’s place [a member of the committee], there was nobody, they had all fled, I saw only his posters. That was the situation and we fought it. We fought them doggedly.
“We tried amnesty here. They came here and I saw them. They told us their grievances, and we acceded to their complaints and proposed amnesty to them. They accepted and we built camps.
“They brought their arms. They were in camps and we were planning to settle them. But when they heard that the Federal Government had provided largesse to their colleagues, they abandoned the camps.
“We took their names to the Federal Government but no response. Though they left camp, they promised that they will not make any trouble because we treated them like human beings.
“They maintained it till their kinpin, Osisikankwu, was killed. Please, tell the Federal Government to start where we stopped.”
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