ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has again stressed the imperative need to allow the establishment of functional state-owned police across Nigeria.
Diri made the call at the gala night to close the 2022 Ijaw Diaspora Convention in Newark, New Jersey State in the United States of America, contending that the operations of state police would end the state of insecurity in the country.
The governor’s standpoint is contained in a statement on Monday by his Director, New Media, Dr. Kola Oredipe.
He insisted on the restructuring of Nigeria and devolution of powers to the states, urging the Federal Government to respect the true dictates of a federal system of government that is fashioned after the US democratic system where equity, fairness and justice remain the order of the day.
Diri said: “The security challenges are there in Nigeria and that is why some of us are asking for restructuring of Nigeria. There has to be devolution of powers to the states. Right here in the US, I can see policemen who are not federal but under the jurisdiction of their respective states.
“That is the federal system. In Nigeria, why can’t we have state-owned policemen? State Government should be allowed and that will contribute to security in the country.”
He noted that the current administration in Bayelsa State was investing massively in security to create enabling environment for investments to thrive.
Diri said: “We have been in the US for some days now and have met various groups and institutions for partnerships and investments in the state. Bayelsa State is so blessed with oil and gas but we are redirecting our energies to gas, renewable energy and agriculture among others. The meetings have been very encouraging and positive.
“But for us, we know that security is key and that was why we established the Bayelsa State Community Safety Corps headed by a retired Brigadier-General. We are involving our youths in the security of their localities. Of course, relatively in Nigeria, Bayelsa remains one of the safest states.
“So, we call on you our brothers and sisters in the diaspora to come and join us attract investment opportunities to your state. Research has shown that we are so blessed with arable lands and interesting to note that we can even plant rice three times in a year. This is big for us.”
The Governor used the event to keep the Ijaw diaspora up to speed about development in Bayelsa State including the ongoing construction of the three senatorial roads, the news that was received with excitement.
He added: “ Through the three senatorial roads, we are connecting many riverine communities by roads. We also want to ensure that all our local government headquarters hitherto not linked by road are connected. For the Sagbama-Ekeremor road in Bayelsa West, we are working to ensure the completion and inauguration during the third anniversary of our government.
“In Bayelsa Central, the Yenagoa-Oporoma road is progressing with the bridge to connect Angiama community to Oporoma, the Southern Ijaw Local Government headquarters awarded. Just about two weeks ago, the last one in the East, Nembe-Brass road was flagged-off after decades that the road had been on the drawing board.”
He urged the Ijaws in diaspora to ensure they work closely with the national executive of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and add their voices to trending national debates and promotion of the culture of the fourth largest ethnic group in the country.
In an address, the Chairman on the occasion and member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Dr. Fred Agbedi, stressed the need for the Ijaw people to continue to unite and urged those in diaspora to always contribute to the development of their state back home.
The President of Ijaw Diaspora Council, Prof. Mondy Gold, expressed the appreciation of the council to the governor and other top Ijaw leaders for their attendance and participation, saying that the forum had formed a strong network across the globe to stand firmly together for the progress of Ijaw nation.