- Says he was the first to call for amnesty
BY MOSES OKORIE
The president of a civil society organization, Foundation for Peace and Non-Violence in Nigeria, Comrade Onengiya Erekosima is seeking audience with President Muhammadu Buhari in order to discuss means of achieving permanent peace in the Niger-Delta region and Nigeria at large.
He made this known to NATION’S PRIDE in a press statement, recently, where he described the roles played by him, which made the former Niger-Delta warlords to surrender their weapons and accept late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s amnesty programme.
Erekosima said that he had been seeking to meet President Muhammadu Buhari on the ways to minimise the level of insecurity including the proliferation of small arms and wished that the president would one day give him audience as security should not be discussed on the pages of the newspaper.
According to him, “I was the public relations officer to Asari Dokubo, the then leader of Nigeria-Delta Volunteer Force. While there, my intention was to explain the case of Niger-Delta and to make the federal and state governments understand why the region was restive and what can be done to resolve it.
“Within the period, the crisis escalated with Ateke Tom and late Saboma George having misunderstanding. Even Asari Dokubo was not seeing eye-to-eye with Ateke Tom.
“I felt that the rivalry among the warlords was not helping to build peace and make a case for the peaceful resolution of the crisis in the region. So, my task became to resolve their differences at the pain of death. I walked into their camps and made moves which the Lord blessed and resolved the feuding parties.”
Erekosima narrated how he was instrumental in convincing Ateke Tom and others to accept the amnesty programme.
“While I convinced other warlords to accept the amnesty, some people working against my moved told Ateke Tom not to surrender his arms. That was why when all other warlords surrendered their arms, Ateke Tom was the last. It took my personal persuasion to convince him to surrender his arms and embrace amnesty.
“Although, my efforts are there for history to judge, the warlords are alive to be my witnesses.”
Comrade Onengiya Erekosima also called on Niger-Delta ex-warlords to join his group to campaign for peace not only in the Niger-Delta but Nigeria as a whole.