James Sowole in Akure
The presidency has expressed concern over the high quality of weapons recovered from militants in the creeks of Ondo State, prompting President Muhammadu Buhari to summon an emergency meeting of governors in the oil rich Niger Delta Region with top security chiefs.
The meeting scheduled to hold at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday is aimed at assessing security situation in the region.
THISDAY learnt that meeting is being coordinated by the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mallam Lawal Daura.
According to top security source in Ondo State, the proposed meeting became necessary because it was widely believed before now that aside the Niger Delta Avengers, no such group had the capacity to pull through a massive arms hold as witnessed in the Sunshine State at the expiration of days given the militants to submit their weapons.
At the riverine Ajapa community in Ese-Odo Local Government Area of Ondo State, the Amnesty Committee in company of security chiefs, recovered dangerous assorted weapons from militants.
The recovered arms included a Browning machine gun, one General Purpose Machine Gun(GPMG), Daewoo K3, Colt Automatic Rifles, Breda 30, Fiat Revelli Modelling, several AK 47 Rifles, one Rocket Launcher, CETME Ameli, Heckler & Koch MG4, tens of Pump Action rifles and some Automatic Cartridges.
Also surrendered were military uniforms, police bulletproof vests, dynamites, grenades, bombs and helmets.
Among the militants that turned in the arms were kidnappers of the six students of Lagos State Model College, Igbonla, Epe.
“What we saw was like a film, no one ever envisaged that these young boys could amass this quality of weapons and keep. It is highly embarrassing, to say the least.
“As soon as the photographs were released alongside the story and it was confirmed that yes those arms were from that community aside several others that were recovered from other villages, the president ordered that an appraisal be done immediately.
“That is why all the governors of the Niger Delta region and the security chiefs will meet on Wednesday because no one had any inkling that apart from the avengers, any such group could muster this massive hold of weapons.
“It is a thing of great concern and worry to every responsible government because some of the weapons the militants surrendered are not just arms even a country can easily procure, it takes a process. So the question is, how did these boys get to this level?
“Some of us are already briefing authorities more efforts should be made by all the governors of the region to adopt the Ondo model to mop up arms because there are likely to be more dangerous game groups with far more sophisticated weapons at their disposal,” he said.
The source said the reason for the meeting was to put in place a machinery to ascertain whether or not there are more of such groups who have yet to turn in their weapons.
The source also said the meeting is also to evaluate the Ondo State Amnesty initiative and see whether same could be replicated in other states of the oil rich enclave.