From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Government has read a riot act to individuals engaging in gunrunning believed to be fuelling crisis in various communities.
Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, who gave the warning, said those engaged in gunrunning should desist from the practice or face the full wrath of the law.
Ewhrudjakpo speaking while addressing the chiefs and people of Peretoru community at a resumed meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, at the weekend, said the meeting, which is the third one within a week, was primarily geared towards resolving the leadership tussle between two factions over the chairmanship of Peretoru Development Committee.
A statement from Ewhrudjakpo’s Senior Special Assistant on Media, Doubra Atasi, quoted the deputy governor as saying the warning has become imperative in view of rumours pertaining to stockpiling of arms in some communities, including Peretoru in Ekeremor council.
He advised parties in disputes or individuals whose rights might have been violated in any form not to resort to self-help by taking the laws into their hands but rather approach the law court for justice.
Ewhrudjakpo assured the people that the Governor Douye Diri-led administration would leave no stone unturned in its determination to maintain and improve on the prevailing security in the state.
The deputy governor, therefore, warned gunrunners and their sponsors who are hell-bent on causing chaos and instability in communities to turn a new leaf, stressing that government would not hesitate to wield the big stick against such criminal elements.
“I want to tell everybody from Peretoru community that the capacity of government should not be tested by any individual or group. I’m saying this because of the reports at our disposal.
“This government will not allow anybody to pile up arms in our communities for the purposes of destroying our communities. If anybody thinks he has some support from anywhere, we will move against that person and his sponsor.
“This government has that capacity. So, take this warning seriously. If you know, you have one godfather or ‘juju-father’ anywhere that is encouraging you to stockpile firearms, we must come for you.
“The idea of people taking to arms at the slightest provocation has to stop in this state. You must know that we are a government. If your rights are breached, you go to court,” he said.