The traditional policing strategy of the Ekpeye people, on Friday paid off again as over 200 youths from different cult groups renounced cultism, just as they surrendered to traditional oath as prescribed by the people.
With this recent renunciation, the number of cultists that have called it quits with cultism in Ekpeye has skyrocketed to 750 in the past two weeks under the present traditional leadership.
The youths drawn from the Iceland, Greenland and Avengers confraternities renounced their membership at Ahoada in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Receiving the youths on behalf of the Ekpeye Council of Traditional Rulers, the Eze Igbu Upata III of Upata Kingdom, HRM Eze Felix Enene Otuwarikpo said the voluntary renunciation was as a result of concerted efforts made by the traditional rulers.
While assuring the repentant cultists that they would do all within their reach to assist in reintegrating them into the society, Otuwarikpo urged them to join hands in the task of developing Ekpeye.
“We have identified leaders of Iceland, Greenland and Avengers, who have come out with their members to renounce their membership of cultism and its related vices. What is happening here is that jointly, we are making history and the boys have pledged to join in building Ekpeye and allow peace to reign,” he remarked.
Otuwarikpo who, doubles as the Chairman of Ahoada East Council of Traditional Rulers however advised the public not to stigmatize or discriminate against the repentant cultists, stressing that Ekpeyeland is “for all to salvage.”
He thanked Chief Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, for instituting the amnesty program that allowed for the voluntary renunciation of cultism by the youths, pleading on the governor to consider ways that would encourage total peace and their permanent reintegration into the society.
He also called on the governor to consider Ekpeye for more projects and to approve the take off of the proposed faculties of the Rivers State University planned for Ahoada Town, urging Ekpeye youths to take advantage of the ongoing recruitment exercise in the state university.
Speaking for the Council Chairmen of Ahoada East and Ahoada West Local Government Areas, the Vice Chairman of Ahoada East, Mrs. Rose Ogbugo, pleaded on youths to “shun hard drugs. If you take these drugs, you won’t have a bright future. Do not allow drugs to rob you of your future” because, according to her, criminality is alien to Ekpeye thus why youths were being encouraged to renounce publicly.
Hon. Victor Denis Ekaro, former special adviser to the governor on security, said the renunciation was a good omen, appealing that the youths, some of whom are graduates, be gainfully engaged.
Speaking on behalf of the repented cultists, Avengers leader, “Gen. VIP” who spoke through his personal assistant, Greatman Ogbobula alias Olodhi expressed happiness and said they signed for peace and never to return to cultism and crime.
He said their demands to government is for them to be gainfully employed and engaged through skills and vocational seminars, scholarship to study in any institution, infrastructural development of Ekpeye Land.
The ex-cultists were later administered with traditional oath at Ula Ubie in Ahoada West, the ancestral home of the Ekpeye people.
Comrade Oyagiri Monday
Special Assistant on Media to the Eze
29th June, 2019