Men of 6 Infantry Battalion, Ibagwa, Akwa Ibom State, yesterday detonated and set ablaze a large cache of arms and ammunition recovered from ex-Niger Delta warlords.
Forty-two thousand, two hundred and seventy-two rounds of small arms and ammunition; 81MM mortars, 3-inch mortars, 60MM mortars, 40MM grenade and 14,447 butts were detonated and set ablaze.
The ceremony was witnessed by the Presidential Amnesty Programme, led by Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Brig-Gen Paul Boroh (rtd) and Akwa Ibom State government, led by Secretary to the State Government Etekamba Umoren.
Maj. Buhari Grema, who conducted the team round, said the arms and ammunition were recovered from Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states.
Grema said: “These are the small arms and ammunition recovered by the Presidential Amnesty Programme from Akwa Ibom, Delta, Bayelsa, Edo and Ondo states. Cumulatively, we have about 48, 272 rounds mixed variation of small arms and ammunition. We shall be burning them here. We shall witness the burning.
“What we have here is medium calibre ammunition for those we cannot easily set on fire. For ammunition higher that 20MM calibre, we detonate. The ammunition here are higher that 20MM calibre. Here we have 81MM mortars, 3-inch mortars, 60MM mortars, and 40MM grenade.
“The butt here represents the 14, 447 weapons of various calibre that were destroyed in 82 base ammunition depot. We are able to transport the butt from Enugu to Akwa Ibom for the world to witness this symbolic event.”
Brig-Gen. Boroh (retd) described the destruction of the arms and ammunition as symbolic.
He explained that the Federal Government woud achieve a arms-free Nigeria.
“With this symbolic exercise, we hope arms will be a thing of the past in the region. We want to achieve a arms-free Nigeria.”
Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel said peace is needed in the country and not Niger Delta alone.
Emmanuel, who was represented by Umoren, said: “We pray that the destruction of the arms and ammunition will mark the end of agitation in the region.”
The governor urged President Muhammadu Buhari not to discontinue the amnesty programme, saying the peace of the Niger Delta region is the peace of the country.