No fewer than 3,000 youths
from Gokana Local Government
Area of Rivers State on
Saturday submitted their arms
to a renowned cleric in the area,
Reverend Father Abel Abulu.
The youths denounced cultism
and also surrendered different
kinds of guns after the cleric’s
message and efforts by Gokana
Peace Ambassadors towards
restoring peace to the area.
The cultists had on two
occasions refused to submit
their arms to the committee
in charge of the amnesty
programme, feigning that
they did not have guns.
It was gathered that their
acceptance to the plea to
repent was achieved through
the intervention of Gokana
Peace Ambassadors and
the clergymen in the area,
who went into the creeks to
preach peace to the cultists.
One of the repentant cultists,
who spoke to newsmen,
Denbesi Isaac, said they decided
to lay down their arms because
they were tired of hiding.
Isaac called on the state
government to join efforts with
the Christian community and the
Gokana Peace Ambassadors to
ensure adequate empowerment
for the repentant cultists.
He noted that if the boys
were integrated into the
state amnesty programme, it
would stop them from going
back to their former lives.
Isaac assured that he and
his group would never
return to their former lives
of cultism for the sake of
peace and development.
Isaac said, “We thank God
that we are alive today. It was
the preaching that the Rev.
Father gave to us on the several
visits he made to us that made
us to change our mind. To me
it is the handiwork of God.
“We are calling on the state
government to include us in
their amnesty programme.
They should train and empower
us so that we would not think of
going back to our past lives.”
Meanwhile, the President of
Gokana Peace Ambassadors,
Kpakol Aleema-Kpakol, said
the group decided to embark
on peace campaign following
the widespread violence which
has claimed the lives of several
innocent souls in the area.
Aleema-Kpakol, who spoke
alongside his Secretary, Tomei
Barikpe Vycent, commended the
effort of Reverend Father Abulu
for his commitment in ensuring
the security of Gokana people.
He stressed the need for
the state government to
inherit the repentant cultist
for the sake of peace and
development in Gokana.