From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has said it would not hesitate to wield the big stick against any community found culpable for aiding and abetting crime in the state.
It has directed community leaders to work closely with security agencies to improve on the prevailing peace and stability.
Bayelsa Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo gave the directive at a meeting with representatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Amabulou community in Ekeremor local government area in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, the deputy governor emphasised the need for effective collaboration between community leaders, security agencies and the government to safeguard lives and prosperity in the state.
He said stakeholders, including traditional rulers, youth leaders and community development committee (CDC) chairmen have a critical role to play for any security arrangement to succeed.
Ewhrudjakpo, who condemned in strong terms the recent attack on some NSCDC operatives at Amabulou Community, assured the agency that government would leave no stone unturned to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators.
While promising to consult the governor with a view to setting up a committee that would look into the Amabulou issue, he warned that government would deal decisively with community leaders who provide a haven for pipeline vandals, pirates and other criminals to carry out their operations.
He also urged the NSCDC and other security agencies to always conduct proper investigations and inform the community leadership in some cases before embarking on their operations in communities.
‘Our community leaders should understand that they also have a lot of responsibilities. As a CDC chairman, you have a duty to protect government facilities in your community,’ he said.
‘Your duty as youth president includes identifying criminal elements in the community and reporting them to the CDC chairman, the ruler, elders of the community and even security agencies, and not to share in royalties.’
In his contribution, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, CP Akpoebi Agberebi (retd), applauded the community hierarchy for their rescue efforts as well as condemning the assault on the NSCDC officials.
The NSCDC State Commandant Christiana Abiakam-Omanu commended the good-hearted indigenes of Amabulou who helped to rescue some of her personnel.
In their separate remarks, the Regent of Oporomor Kingdom, Chief Tamaramiebi Mitin, and a legal practitioner, Chief Fedude Zimughan, decried the nonchalance of the leadership of Amabulou Community towards an upcoming militant group led by one of their sons.
They also called on the government to quickly intervene in the leadership tussle rocking the community and help to quash criminal disturbances in the area.