The first batch of 603 trainees under the Bayelsa State Community Safety Corps were on Thursday inaugurated by Governor Douye Diri in Yenagoa, the state capital.
The Corps came into existence in December 2021 when Governor Diri signed the bill establishing it into law.
The law streamlines the operations of the state’s security outfit, Operation Doo-Akpo, the Bayelsa State Volunteers and the Bayelsa Vigilante into an umbrella body.
The personnel are mandated to work closely with security agencies in the protection of lives and property.
Speaking at the launch/graduation ceremony, Governor Diri enjoined them to operate within the rules of engagement and not operate as tax collectors, settlers of land disputes or domestic issues but rather work with statutory security agencies to rid the state of criminals.
He also urged security agencies to work in synergy with the corps as they would be invaluable in crime fighting in the rural areas.
His words: “You are indeed the pride of Bayelsa State. You have undergone some set of training and are expected to know your rules and act within the rules of engagement.
“You are not trained to become debt collectors neither are you trained to settle land disputes or counsellors in domestic conflicts or nuisance in the state or subtly encourage crime in your areas of jurisdiction.”
Diri noted that its establishment was in line with his administration’s mantra of prosperity where Bayelsans and other residents would live and work without fear due to crime.
According to him, “there is no arguing that you are trained to work in a symbiotic relationship with the federal security agencies in your communities, local government and generally in our state. Security commanders and chiefs are enjoined to relate with the Community Safety Corp members.
“Crime fighting is a collective effort and requires credible intelligence for security agencies to efficiently carry out their statutory obligation.
“The community corps is designed to support, partner and collaborate with the statutory federal security agencies in efforts to rid the state of crime and criminal elements.”
In his address, the Chief Security Coordinator/Coordinator, Bayelsa Community Safety Corps, Brig. Gen, Eric Angaye (rtd), said the Corps bill was signed into law in line with the state government’s commitment to fight crime in the state and the need to spread policing to the hinterlands.
He explained that the 603 corps members were drawn from the 105 wards of the state after a rigorous selection exercise and subjected them to nine weeks training at the Sports Academy at Asoama in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area.
The state coordinator said they were trained in intelligence gathering, driving, unarmed combat among others.
According to Angaye, they will be deployed in various communities to collaborate with security agencies in protecting government assets and infrastructure as well as check criminal activities.
The highlight of the ceremony was the inauguration of patrol vehicles and motorcycles for the use of the Corps by the governor.