ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, YENAGOA
The Bayelsa State Government has ordered respective local government authorities in the state, to without delay, come up with a legislation prohibiting the movement of speedboats within the state’s waterways after 7pm.
The government said this should solely affect Speedboats without security permit.
The state government also directed the legislative councils of the eight local government areas to expeditiously enact bye-laws on the establishment of local vigilantes in all the communities.
The deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the directive on Tuesday during separate meetings with traditional rulers from Southern Ijaw and Nembe local council areas of the state at his office in Government House, Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo, who urged the traditional rulers to complement government’s efforts at tackling security challenges in the state, stressed the need for vigilance groups to be set up before the end of this month.
Consequently, he directed the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Development, Chief Thompson Amule, to notify the council chairmen to initiate bills for the enabling bye-laws towards establishing the vigilantes in their areas.
He said community leaders should work closely with the Police to thoroughly screen members of the various vigilancr groups based on their individual capacities and integrity.
Ewhrudjakpo, who emphasised the need for more effective policing of the waterways to stem the rising tide of sea piracy and other forms of criminality, also directed that bye-laws prohibiting traveling with speedboats along the rivers and creeks be passed by the councils.
He noted that the measure would go a long way to complement the efforts of the security agencies to curb crime on the water routes in the state.
He used the opportunity to call on the teeming youths of the state to shun acts capable of truncating their future by turning a new leaf.
He noted that the state government was determined to give traditional rulers a sense of belonging and restore their role as custodians of culture and peace through the Community Administration Bill to be sent to the House of Assembly.
On the complaint of lack of teachers in the public schools in Southern Ijaw, Ewhrudjakpo directed the Director General of the Teachers’ Training Institute, Dr. Peremoboere Stella Ugolo, to quickly review the distribution of teachers in the schools, to enable government to address the situation.
He equally directed the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Gentle Emelah, to visit Community Secondary School, Okoroma, which building was deroofed by rainstorm and make a proper assessment for necessary action.
Ewhrudjakpo said “Any speedboat without security permit moving after 7pm is an enemy boat.”
Speaking at the meeting, the Ibenanaowei of Bomo clan, King Joshua Igbugburu, urged the royal fathers from Southern Ijaw area of the state to ensure that security remains a priority in their various domains and prevail on the people to maintain peace.
In own comment, the paramount ruler of Okoroma clan in Nembe LGA, King Bethran Douglas, requested a JTF post and police presence in the area to check the activities of criminals.
He pointed out that the face-off between Okoroma and the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) over the broken power plant was a potential threat to peace in the area, and appealed to government not to relent in its efforts to resolve the issue.
In their separate remarks, the Commissioner for Police, Mr. Echeng E. Echeng, and the Commander of 16th Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Oluwarotimi Awolo, appealed for cooperation from the people in the fight against criminality in the state.
They identified hostilities from communities as one of the challenges facing military officers on patrol duty along the creeks and marine routes which makes their job tasking.