Anyone Occupying Our Forests Bearing Guns Is A Criminal- Soludo

Kenechukwu Ofomah

Kenechukwu Ofomah

Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo on Friday, warned that given the olive branch his government has extended to all the disparaging groups in the forest to come out and embrace his amnesty, it will have no other option than to treat anyone in the forests wielding arms, as criminals.

Soludo was speaking when he visited the Aguata Local Government Secretariat, Ekwulobia, which was attacked and burned down on Thursday by gunmen.

The attackers were said to have invaded the area at about 2pm, shooting sporadically, scaring workers at the secretariat away, before setting the building and many vehicles within the premises ablaze.

They were also said to have attacked a cattle market in Igbo-ukwu Community same yesterday and allegedly killed about 30 cows.

Soludo, who was accompanied on a visit to the council secretariat by the State Commissioner of Police, CP Echeng Echeng, the Commissioner-Designate for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon TonyCollins Nwabunwanne among others, was conducted round the premises, where he expressed disappointment over the attack.

The governor who described the incident as mindless criminality, said the combined security forces invaded a camp of the hoodlums between Aguluezechukwu and Ogboji community and smoked them out and the camp was destroyed.

He said it was as they were fleeing that they attacked the Council secretariat.

“It was from this camp that they continue to operate unhindered for the past two years, killing, maiming, raping and doing all manner of things.

“As they were fleeing cowardly they set the local government ablaze but the security agents also smoked them out from here,” Soludo said.

He noted that with the items recovered from the camp of the gunmen, it was obvious that they are common criminals.

“The items recovered include a register of people they kidnapped, how much they paid as ransom, the balance remaining, the vehicles stolen and the transactions and many other things.

“They had even taken delivery of food items with all kinds of shrines and stuff.

“So, it is obvious that this is not who we are, they are just common criminals,” he said.

Soludo noted that his government has extended olive branch to all those in the bush to come out and surrender their guns so that they can be rehabilitated to play critical roles in the development of Anambra, the Southeast and Nigeria.

He however warned those who will refuse to take the option and decide to continue their criminal activities from the various bushes, that Anambra people will rise to take back their land.

“We have extended the olive branch to all genuine agitators, and made extensive calls for those in the bush to come out and shun criminality.

“How do you explain to any sane mind that “responsible citizens” have elected to pursue a supposed legitimate course adopting criminal strategies of kidnapping, arson and murder?

“This is despicable, not permissible and against any known law of humanity.

“My message is for them to take the olive branch and we will help you.

“But aside that, anybody we see in the bush with a gun, will be seen as a criminal,” Soludo warned.

The governor assured that his government is totally resolved to stamp out criminality from the state.

“Ndi Anambra are irrepressible.

“They are out to reclaim their land, to restore peace and set the pace for the building of a liveable and prosperous homeland.

“There will be no hiding place anymore for criminals in our state,” he warned.

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