Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa has signed three bills into law as part of his administration’s efforts to promote good governance and enhance revenue generation.
The bills are the Bayelsa State Audit Bill, Information Technology Development Agency Bill and the Regulation of Sand Dealing, Dredging, and Reclamation Operations Bill.
Diri, in a statement on Thursday by his Acting Chief Press Secretary, Mr Daniel Alabrah, condemned the activities of sand dredgers in the state for operating without recourse to Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
He lauded members of the state House of Assembly for their foresight in passing the bill to regulate dredging, saying it would help protect the environment from further degradation.
According to the governor, the activities of sand dredgers had become worrisome as they were partly responsible for most of the natural disasters in some communities.
He Said: “We cannot have people dredging sand without an EIA. Nobody talks about the impact such activities cause to our environment.
“This is something that has been bothering me and I didn’t know that the assembly was already working on it to address the problem.
“A lot of natural disasters all over the place are traceable to some of these acts that we ignore.
“I am happy that I have assented to this bill to control dredging activities so that we do not plunge our state into further degradation.”
On the Information Technology Development Agency Law, Diri said the state government was only domesticating the Federal Government’s law to enhance transparency and accountability in its dealings.
He also expressed confidence in the leadership of the assembly and its readiness to work harmoniously with the executive arm of government to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
Presenting the bills, the Deputy Speaker of the house, Michael Ogbere, explained that the audit law was intended to provide a comprehensive and in-depth audit of funds, revenues, expenditures, assets, and liabilities of the government.
Ogbere said the law would also provide for the establishment of an Audit Service Commission that would strengthen the independence of auditors to function effectively.
On sand dealing and dredging, he noted that the bill was co-sponsored by the Leader of the House, Monday Bubou; the Chief Whip, Ebiowou Koku-Obiyai; and the Deputy Whip, Gibson Munalayefa.
The lawmaker said the legislation would equally provide for the establishment of a licensing authority for the issuance of operational permits and specific charges to boost internally generated revenue.