The Bayelsa State Government has cautioned people of the state, particularly the youths to maintain the relative peace in the state despite the shortcomings of the Petroleum Industry Bill recently signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
It also urged the Ijaw Youth Council, an umbrella body of youth organizations in Ijawland, to operate within the confines of its Constitution and not delve into issues bordering on the election of traditional rulers.
The Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made this known at an enlarged meeting with traditional rulers from Ogbia Local Government Area of the state in Government House, Yenagoa, on Thursday.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo, observed that although what the people of oil bearing communities expected from the petroleum industry bill (PIB) was not what they got from the emergent Act, there is still need for them to promote peace and stability in the state.
He said that relevant stakeholders in the Niger Delta would continue to engage the Federal Government through constructive dialogue and other lawful means to enable host communities get their fair share from oil resources.
On security, Senator Ewhrudjakpo condemned what he described as pockets of insecurity emanating from unnecessary attempts to overthrow duly constituted community leadership, thereby causing tension and strife in some communities.
He, therefore, warned that government would not allow any recognized and gazetted traditional ruler to be arbitrarily dethroned by any individual or group of persons and impose themselves on the people.
The Deputy Governor, however, assured that government would always ensure a peaceful process of electing leaders into vacant traditional stools and other elective positions in the various communities.
To this end, he enjoined the leadership of IYC to only pursue worthy struggles to foster peace, unity and progress in line with the yearnings and aspirations of founders of the organization.
While thanking the Ogbia traditional rulers for their support, Senator Ewhrudjakpo reminded them of the need to register all visitors and non-indigenes in their communities for security reasons.
His words: “Today, our discussion will focus on our security and other issues in our country. As you are all aware, what we expected is not what we have in respect of the Petroleum Industry Bill, now Petroleum Industry Act. I know most of our people are not happy.
“However, we want to use this opportunity to appeal to our communities. We should not resort to violence, or encourage our youths to take to arms because we still have opportunity to discuss with the Federal Government.
“The bill has been signed into law; it is now an Act, and the Federal Government has set up an implementation committee. We will continue to engage them until we have our fair share.
On community administration, he said, “We are beginning to see some level of insecurity gravitating towards unnecessary overtake of communities. We will not as a government, under the leadership of Senator Douye Diri, allow any traditional ruler who has been gazetted to be overthrown or put out of office.”
In their separate remarks, the Obanobhan of Ogbia Kingdom, His Eminence, King Dumaro Charles Owaba and the various clanheads, commended the present administration for carrying traditional rulers along in the scheme of things.
They, however, called on the state government to address the issues of illegal oil bunkering, absence of police stations and access roads to some Ogbia communities particularly in Abhureri clan, the erosion menace at Anyama,q among other challenges facing the area.
Also speaking, the service commanders in the state including the Commissioner of Police, CP Echeng Eworo Echeng, and Commander, 16 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen. O.A Awolo, appealed to the royal fathers and people of the area to always volunteer actionable intelligence to the security agencies for prompt response.
The Member representing Ogbia Constituency 3, Hon. Naomi Ogoli, Ogbia Council Chairman, Hon. Ebinyon Turner, Governor’s Special Representative, Hon. Prince Isikpi and Commissioners from the area were among those who made contributions at the meeting.