By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State government says it will soon relaunch its security outfit, codenamed “Operation Doo- Akpo” to complement the efforts of other security agencies in the maintenance of law and order in the state.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made this known on Tuesday at a meeting with traditional rulers from Yenagoa Local Government Area in Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo while restating the need for traditional rulers to be vigilant and take charge of security in their domains reminded them of the acts of banditry and wanton destruction of lives and property in other parts of the country.
His words, “We are trying to revamp Doo-Akpo. In the next couple of months, it will be back to its usual capacity of responding to distress calls promptly. They are being equipped.
“In terms of maritime security, we are not leaving anything to chance. Very soon, we will work with the House of Assembly to get a law on maritime curfew, so that no speed boats will move at 7 pm, except on special duty. We will then activate the Marine Police.”
He further explained that youths in the communities would also be involved in the security arrangement where there would be a collaboration with the paramount rulers and the Community Development Committees to prevent criminals from infiltrating villages to perpetrate crime.
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Ewhrudjakpo also expressed displeasure over what he termed politicisation of security issues in the state since 2015 by some people who claim to be connected to higher authorities in the country.
Responding to the concern raised by the Ebenibe of Atissa Kingdom, King Godwin Igodo, the deputy governor maintained that the new security structure would enable traditional rulers to have direct access to the Special Adviser on Security to fight crimes in their communities.
“There has been the politicisation of security issues since 2015 in this state. And the government that has exclusive control over security has refused to rise to the occasion of insecurity in the name of politics.
“They have nurtured, fed and grown monsters. But I can assure you that things are changing gradually. Within the confines of our laws, they will be tackled and this place will be too hot for them. It’s better for them to change now or they leave the state,” he said
Also responding to claims that the government had always been part of the signing of Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMOU) in the area, Ewhrudjakpo, pointed out that the implementation had always been shrouded in secrecy, thereby making supervision by the government difficult.
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According to him, “the government wants to be directly involved in the preparation, signing and supervision of GMOUs between corporate organizations and communities to protect the interest of the people.”
Summarizing the presentations of his colleagues, the Commissioner for Information, Hon Ayibaina Duba, stated that the government was determined to positively impact the lives of the people through its policies and programmes.
He, therefore, charged the traditional rulers to assist in the protection of oil facilities and other government infrastructure in their various domains since the revenue accruing to the state mainly depends on the volume of crude oil produced from the state.
Also speaking, the state House of Assembly members from Yenagoa including Mrs Ebiuwou Koku Obiyai, Mr Ted Elemeforo and Mr Oforji Oboku as well as the Mayor of Yenagoa City, Mr Uroupaye Nimizuo gave an account of their stewardship to their constituents.
In his contribution, the Chairman of Yenagoa Traditional Rulers Council and the Ibenanaowei of Gbarain Kingdom, King Funpere Akah, lamented that the state government had taken over almost all the sources of revenue to the local government area.
King Akah, who appealed to the present administration to return all IGR producing facilities legally owned by the Yenagoa Council, pledged the commitment of the traditional rulers to work with the government to enhance peace and development in the state.
In his submission, the Clanhead of Ekpetiama, King Bubaraye Dakolo, stressed the need for proper management of oil and gas resources for the benefit of the people, which he noted, would go a long way to reduce crime and insecurity in the state.
On his part, the representative of the Ebenibe of Atissa Kingdom, and Paramount Ruler of Yenagoa Town, Chief Clarkson Kikile, blamed the rising insecurity in the state on the lack of prosecution of criminals arrested by vigilante groups.
Over forty traditional rulers from the area, including the Obenibe of Epie Kingdom, King Malla Sasime and 96 years old Amananaowei of Tombia Community, Chief Christian Otobotekere, attended the meeting.