Bayelsa governor warns youths against damaging national assets

Eme Offiong, Calabar

Youths in Nigeria’s oil rich Delta region have been warned against destroying the nation’s assets.

The Governor of Bayelsa State in Southern Nigeria, Seriake Dickson, who gave the charge during a meeting with representatives of oil companies operating within the area, said the resurgence of violence in the region would compound the developmental and environmental challenges facing the Niger Delta.

Governor Dickson, who strongly condemned the killing of military personnel and the act of pipeline vandalism, assured them of his government’s determination to bring the perpetrators to justice.

According to Dickson, “there was also need for oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to take their corporate social responsibilities seriously”.

He added that: “For us as a Government, we take primary interest in the security of lives and properties. And with respect to your operations, we take keen interest as to how we can best secure our strategic assets in this State. Our government has no room for criminality, violence and brigandage.

And again let me repeat what I’ve been saying for the past one week on account of recent developments in this region. We will not allow any person or group of persons, for whatever reason, to resort to violence and destruction of strategic assets and investments and further degradation of our environment and escalation of tension in this State and region”, Governor Dickson stressed.

Warning to communities

During a similar interaction with community leaders and representatives of security agencies in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, Governor Seriake Dickson reiterated the need to curb crimes such as kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and the attack on law enforcement agents in the state.

On the recent killings of three security operatives in the state, the Governor recalled the military invasion of Odi in Kolokuma-Opokuma and Odioma in Brass Local Government Areas, noting “the incidents should serve as lessons to all other communities. I therefore urge you, the community leaders to collaborate with security agencies to maintain law and order in your domain to avert a recurrence. We all know that security is a collective responsibility of all”.

To the youths, Dickson warned “nobody within and outside the state would be allowed to create havoc and make Bayelsa State to be a place for violence and bloodshed. I particularly call on all misguided youths by whatever name or description not to resort to violence as a means of making any point. We are available to receive any complaints and grievances for us to take them up with the appropriate quarters”.

According to the Governor, the payment of ransoms and negotiating with kidnappers would also be a crime in Bayelsa State.

He reminded the people of the law on kidnapping, which he said was enforced to deter youths and others from engaging in the act.

Shortly after the meeting, some community leaders: Okpoitari Diongoli, who is known as Ebedaowei of Opokuma kingdom and Mozi Agara, the Ebedaowei of Kolokuma clan as well as Funpere Akah, the Ebenanaowei of Gbarain clan, urged the the Nigerian and State Governments to strengthen the traditional institution to partner with security agencies for peace and stability in their areas.

Representatives of the Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield; the State Police Command; the Nigerian Air Force; the Central Naval Command; Director of State Security; Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Chief Boma Spero Jack also attended the meeting.

Eni Shutdown 

Sunday’s attack on a pipeline at an oil field operated by Eni, the parent firm of Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, at Ogbembiri in Southern Ijaw area of Bayelsa State has resulted to a shutdown.

The oil company, has sequel to the attack, deferred its production in the field run in partnership with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.

Sources disclosed that in the past one month, the pipeline has been attacked 13 times.

The pipeline, which passes through Tumor community in Bomadi, Delta; Ogbuasiri in Ekeremor and Ogbembiri in Southern Ijaw, is a major supplier of gas to power plants.