ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State government has urged the people of the state, particularly the youths, to maintain relative peace in the state despite the shortcomings of the Petroleum Industry Bill recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The government also urged the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), an umbrella body of youth organisations in Ijaw land, to operate within the confines of its constitution and not delve into issues bordering on the election of traditional rulers.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made this known on Friday at an enlarged meeting with traditional rulers from Ogbia Local Government Area in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo observed that although what the people of oil bearing communities expected from the PIB was not what they got from the emergent Act, there is still need for them to promote peace and stability in the state.
He said that relevant stakeholders in the Niger Delta would continue to engage the Federal Government through constructive dialogue and other lawful means to enable host communities to get their fair share from oil resources.
On security, Ewhrudjakpo condemned what he described as pockets of insecurity emanating from unnecessary attempts to overthrow duly constituted community leadership, thereby causing tension and strife in some communities.
He, therefore, warned that the government would not allow any recognized and gazetted traditional ruler to be arbitrarily dethroned by any individual or group of persons and impose themselves on the people.
The Deputy Governor, however, assured the people that government would always ensure a peaceful process of electing leaders into vacant traditional stools and other elective positions in the various communities.
To this end, he enjoined the leadership of IYC to only pursue worthy struggles to foster peace, unity and progress in line with the yearnings and aspirations of founders of the organization.
While thanking the Ogbia traditional rulers for their support, Ewhrudjakpo reminded them of the need to register all visitors and non-indigenes in their communities for security reasons.
In their separate remarks, the Obanobhan of Ogbia Kingdom, His Eminence, King Dumaro Charles Owaba and the various clan heads, commended the present administration for carrying traditional rulers along in the scheme of things.
They, however, called on the government to address the issues of illegal oil bunkering, absence of police stations and access roads to some Ogbia communities particularly in Abhureri clan, the erosion menace at Anyama, among other challenges facing the area.