By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA â€” Thousands of Bayelsans, weekend, converged at the Peace Park in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, to celebrateÂ one year anniversary of the voluntary surrender of arms and ammunition by former militants operating in the creeks of the state.
The unprecedented cache of arms and ammunition, which were turned in by former creek warlords at the Peace Park last year had prompted the state government to declare August 22 of every year as Peace Day in the state, symbolising the return of peace to a state once regarded as the hotbed of youth militancy in the troubled Niger Delta region.
Speaking on the occasion, which was turned into a mini carnival, the state Governor, Chief Timipre Sylva, who was represented by his deputy, Chief Werinipre Seibarugu, who admitted that the state in the last couple of weeks had pockets of cases of criminal attacks on innocent Bayelsans, said it was the handiwork of unpatriotic elements bent on creating false security problems in the state with a view to justifying their call for a state of emergency.
Sylva recalled the near state of anarchy in Bayelsa when he assumed leadership of the state but had to work tirelessly to restore normalcy.
According to him, the weekend celebration marks the practical commitment of Bayelsans resolve to usher in a new dawn of peace and security, for the overall sustainable development of Bayelsa, the Niger Delta and the country.
â€œYou are aware that, when I took over as the Governor of Bayelsa State, peace and security were like a scarce commodity. Kidnapping, hostage taking and other sundry crime were the order of the day.
We told Bayelsans in clear terms that we cannot continue that way, if we really want meaningful development to take place and responsible government, we studied the problem, dissected it and came up with what we called the â€˜Triple Eâ€™ approach to tackle the menace.â€
This, according to the Governor, was to â€˜Engageâ€™ the agitators in dialogue and reorient them, â€˜Empowerâ€™ the people with a robust wealth creation and empowerment programmes as well as â€˜Enforcementâ€™ of the law where necessary.