By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA—Bayelsa State House of Assembly has taken fresh steps to stop the lingering boundary dispute between the people of Nembe in the state and Kalabari in Rivers State.
In a resolution passed yesterday at plenary, the Assembly urged the state government through relevant ministries, department and agencies to work closely with members of the National Assembly from the area and the National Boundary Commission to quickly resolve the boundary disputes.
The lawmakers also directed the government to mobilise adequate security to the Oluasiri area of Nembe and adjoining riverine communities in the area to protect the people from frequent attacks by armed men from across the border communities in Rivers State.
The resolution followed a motion raised by Iniyobiyo Obiene, representing Nembe constituency III in the Assembly which was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers as read out by the Speaker, Mr. Konbowei Benson.
Obiene had told his colleagues that the people of the two oil-bearing communities, Oluasiri in Nembe and Soku in Kalabari, were fully aware of the boundary between them and wondered why the latter would want to step out of the boundary.
He said: “Given the fact that Oluasiri, Robert Kiri, Ekulama I, Ekulama II, and environs are border communities cum settlements that lie in the eastern boundary of Bayelsa State, it is true that these communities are in the volatile area, prone to threats and attacks from their Rivers State neighbours even in the presence of security men deployed to the area by their government.”
The lawmaker lamented that the state government was yet to deploy security personnel to the area to ensure protection of lives and property people, as evident in the kidnapping of one Charles along Oluasiri waterways in December 2012, the destruction and burning of Ijaw-Kiri same year as well as the attack on one Amaebite and his colleagues at Sand-Sand village among others.
Obiene, who said that the hostilities in the disputed area had led to waste of lives, expressed concern that residents live in fear of intimidation and frequent harassment.
In another development, the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Benson, has reacted to media reports that the House did not hold a public hearing as well as consult widely before passing the state Education Tax bill recently signed into law by Governor Seriake Dickson.
The Speaker said the relevant committees held public hearings and reached out to key stakeholders to get their inputs in the bill.
He said that the education tax law was a good thing to have happened to the state in the quest to protect the future of millions of Bayelsa youths.