... Directs Council Chairmen To Hold Monthly Security Meetings

Bight Newspaper reports that Bayelsa State Government has issued a stern warning to individuals and groups involved in illegal collection of levies and taxes under the guise of non-existent revenue contracts in the state to either desist from the criminal act forthwith or be sanctioned.

The government has similarly warned those sabotaging oil pipelines and facilities in the state to refrain from the unwholesome practice, as anyone found culpable would be dealt with according to the dictates of the law.

The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the warnings at an enlarged security meeting with first class traditional rulers, service commanders, local government chairmen, and the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) central zone and other youth bodies, in Government House, Yenagoa, on Monday.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo, decried oil pipeline vandalism, stressing it was not only an economic crime but also a problem with long term effect that adversely affects the environment and revenues of the state.

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He pointed out that the State monthly revenue drops each time there is a shortfall in its output in oil production as greater part of its income from the Federation Account actually comes from the 13 percent derivation, which is intricately tied to oil production.

On the issue of illegal roadblocks and collection of levies on the highways, especially the East-West Road, Senator Ewhrudjakpo, said the image of Bayelsa had been badly dented, adding that such activities were scaring away investors from the state.

The Deputy Governor further said the collection of unauthorized levies contributes to high cost of goods in Bayelsa, and therefore called on the IYC and its affiliates to engage the youths of the state on the need to refrain from the practice.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo also directed the local government chairmen to convene security meetings with traditional rulers, the police and other stakeholders every month to address security issues in their areas.

His words: “There are so many roadblocks along the East-West expressway. There is also the issue of vandalization of oil pipelines. The most recent case took place in Gbarain in the Yenagoa LGA of the state.

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“Bayelsa cannot make progress in this kind of atmosphere. When oil pipelines are burst, it affects our output, and consequently our monthly revenue.

“Bayelsa gets just about N2billion as allocation monthly; the rest comes from the 13th percent derivation.

“Bayelsa is wooing investors to come, yet some of our actions are scaring away investors from the shores of our state. We need investors, but investors can’t come to do business in an hostile environment.”

In their contributions, the Ebenanawei of Bomo Clan, King Joshua Igbugburu, the Obenibe of Epie, King Malla Sasime and Ibenanaowei of Gbarain Kingdom, King Funpere Akah, promised to work closely with security agencies to curb criminal tendencies in their domains.

Others including the Obanobhan of Ogbia, His Eminence Charles Owaba, the Pere of Kumbowei Clan, King Boloyi Sufadoh, the Clanhead of Kou, King Olamene Egberibine, and their Kolokuma counterpart, King Mozi Agara, thanked the state government for the meeting and stressed the need for same at the local government area on a regular basis to enhance security.

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On his part, the Chairman of Ijaw Youth Council, Central Zone, Comrade Pere Inefie, pledged to collaborate with the state government in tackling security concerns such as pipeline vandalism, illegal taxation and challenges confronting youths in the state.

He said the present leadership of IYC was focused on effecting a paradigm shift from unnecessary confrontation and restiveness to intellectual agitation in its quest to better the lot of Ijaw youths as evident in this year’s Boro Day celebrations.

The Secretary to State Government, Professor Nimibofa Ayaowei, Chief of Staff to the Governor, Hon Peter Akpe, service commanders including the Commissioner of Police, Mr Francis Idu, among other top government functionaries attended the meeting.


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