Category: Conflict Resolution

Gov Diri Tasks Ijaw Leaders On Justice, Equity – Advocates Devolution Of Power

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has charged the Ijaw nation leaders to relentlessly speak out on issues of injustice and under-development confronting the ethnic nationality until they are addressed.

Senator Diri stated this on Saturday at the All Ijaw Summit with the theme, “The Nigerian State and the Ijaw Question” in Yenagoa, the state capital. 

The summit was organised by the Ijaw National Congress (INC).

While commending the INC leadership for convening the summit, the governor maintained that the Ijaw people would continue to oppose the the three per cent allotted to the host communities in the Petroleum Industry Act until justice was done.

In a press release issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, the governor said: “The Niger Delta people view the 13 per cent derivation from the prism of 87 per cent deprivation.

“The three per cent allotted to oil producing communities in the PIA is very paltry and we will continue to oppose it until it is addressed.”

He also said that the country for too long has operated a unitary system of government instead of true federalism and called for devolution of powers from the centre to the states.

Where power is properly devolved, the governor advocated that the federal government would be responsible for currency, foreign policy and national security.

He urged the summit to interrogate issues of constitution amendment, particularly state police, additional local governments for Bayelsa and more states for the Ijaw nation.

The state’s helmsman urged the summit to also  deliberate on matters of oil and gas exploitation in the Niger Delta and the inherent dangers to the people and environment in view of the ongoing oil spillage from the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited’s facility in Nembe.

“I strongly believe that this summit should indicate clearly  our stand with our people who are in imminent peril of extinction and impose stringent ethical responsibilities on oil exploration companies on our land.”

Reacting to Arewa youths that opposed his comments on the Nembe oil spill, Senator Diri stressed that he had never played politics with the health and development of his people and did not need to be a petroleum engineer to defend his people.

“I have never played politics with the health and development of our people and if the Arewa youths think that what I said is to over-politicise the situation in Nembe, then I want to believe that they are the most ignorant people on what is happening in the Niger Delta.”

In his remarks, chairman of the occasion, former Justice of the Supreme Court and Pere of Tuomo Kingdom in Delta State, Francis Tabai, said it was paradoxical that while the Niger Delta people produced the wealth of the nation for over 60 years, they remain the poorest.

The retired jurist noted that the Niger Delta people who occupy the most difficult coastal areas deserve special attention as they have been  responsible for the economic survival of the country.

Also, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the INC, Chief Edwin Clark, represented by Amb. Godknows Igali, said the Ijaws have been unfairly treated and called on the ethnic group’s leaders, particularly National Assembly members and other elected officials, to speak out on the injustices meted out to the Ijaw nation.

“We are the goose that lays the golden egg but we receive the other end of the stick. We will continue to shout about the injustice meted out to our people. We have been unfairly treated,” he said.

In his address, the INC President, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, said the essence of the summit was to evoke a common understanding and build a concensus on the the way forward for the Ijaw people.

Prof Okaba, who highlighted a number of challenges confronting the people, noted that with the support of patriotic Ijaw leaders the Congress would continue to employ the tools of dialogue and persuasion, which are non-violent advocacy.

Read More

Gov. Diri Tasks New Bayelsa CP On Respect For Human Rights

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has urged the new Commissioner of Police in the state, Echeng Eworo Echeng, to ensure utmost respect of the fundamental rights of residents while tackling crime. 
Governor Diri gave the charge when he  received CP Echeng in his office in Government House, Yenagoa, on Thursday. 

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as describing the coming of the new commissioner as a blessing to the state given his profile and track  record of achievement. 
Stating that Bayelsa had a policy of zero-tolerance to crime and criminality, he assured the new police boss of his administration’s readiness to partner with the force to rid the state of crime. 

He tasked Echeng to among other things check the rate of kidnapping in Yenagoa and other parts of the state, stressing that the ugly trend can no longer be tolerated.
The state helmsman urged people of the state to cooperate with the police to make it safe, saying security was a collective responsibility.

His words: “We prayed to have a worthy successor to the retired CP of Bayelsa State and from my findings we are happy to have you. You have the required character to serve. Your appointment is our prayer answered and we welcome you. Be assured that you will work in an environment of conviviality and friendliness. 

“As a government, we have said it that criminality does not discriminate. Our common resolve is to ensure that Bayelsa State is free of criminality and the policy of this government is zero tolerance to crime and criminality.
“We want the citizens of this state and residents to sleep with their two eyes closed. Listening to you, clearly you are not a new comer. You have been here before and your record showed you are well experienced and have the training that the state would benefit from. I assure you that as a government we would relate and work with you at all times so that Bayelsa would be crime free.”  

Earlier, CP Echeng stated that his visit to the governor was in recognition of his office as the Chief Security Officer of the state and to seek his support. 
While stating his zero tolerance for corruption in line with the policy direction of the Inspector General of Police, he said the police would work closely with the government to make the state safe. 
During the visit, commander of the state’s special security outfit, Operation Doo-Akpo, DCP Ibrahim Bakori, was decorated with his new rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.

In a related development, Governor Diri has appealed to the Federal Government to establish an outfit to secure waterways in riverine areas to reduce criminality and accidents. 
He made the call on Thursday when the Bayelsa State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Usman Ibrahim, paid him a visit in Government House, Yenagoa.

He stated that due to the riverine terrain of the state, there was need to establish an outfit like the FRSC and give equal treatment to the waterways.
The governor expressed delight that road accidents had drastically reduced in the state, and urged the command to do more to reduce it to the barest minimum.

Diri, who lamented the dearth of federal highways in the state, tasked men of the command to provide more signages at strategic positions and also educate road users on their meaning.   
He said: “Due to the dearth of highways and the special terrain of Bayelsa State, the waterways also ought to have equal treatment with the highways. I am sure that would bring to rest the issue of kidnapping and other criminal activities. May I use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government that we need equal treatment in our waterways.
“We are happy that crashes and other forms of accidents are not very common in Bayelsa. But that may be due to what I would describe as non-existent federal highways unlike other states.”

He thanked the FRSC for expressing its readiness to extend their operations to  the road leading to the Bayelsa International Airport and said the state would synergise with the command to ensure accident-free roads. 
Earlier, Commander Usman Ibrahim revealed that there has been no fatal road accident in the state since May 2021, attributing it to the good roads existing in the state.

According to him, with commencement of flight operations at the Bayelsa airport, the command would extend its operations to the road and ensure the safety of its users.

He said a road safety advisory council had been established at the national level and appealed to the state government to replicate it.
He also requested for land to enable the command build a permanent structure in the state.

Read More

Anti-Grazing Law: Gov. Diri Commends Bayelsa Muslim Community

Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has commended the Muslim community in the state for their support to his administration’s anti-grazing law.

Governor Diri gave the commendation on Thursday when he hosted Muslim faithful in Government House, Yenagoa, to mark this year’s Id-el-Fitri celebration. 

His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, in a statement, quoted the governor as saying that he was pleased with the participation of the Muslim community prior to the passage of the bill and the subsequent enforcement of the law.
He stated that the anti-grazing law was not against any ethnic group but to ensure peace and order in the state.
The governor particularly thanked them for joining hands with government, citizens of the state and adherents of other religions to keep the peace and ensure mutual coexistence.

He said: “I like to commend you for your peaceful disposition throughout this period of fasting and prayer. I like to also appreciate and commend you for supporting and helping the government to keep the peace in Bayelsa State.
“I recall that even when we sent the Executive Bill to the House of Assembly on the burning issue of open grazing, you were part of it. You participated even at the level of the committee for the public hearing.

“When issues arise, you have never taken them to yourselves to seek help from other sources. You are always law abiding either to the constitution of Nigeria or the laws made by the government of Bayelsa State. You were holding meetings before and after the bill was signed into law. The law is not against Muslims nor anyone in our society but to ensure that we live peacefully and that there is order and mutual respect for the various parts that make up Bayelsa.”
While describing Nigeria as a circular country, Senator Diri said everyone was free to practice their religion and to eke out a living peacefully.

“Across humanity, you have criminals and all kinds of persons. Therefore, I like us to moderate the way we speak and the way we use words in condemning a particular religion or profiling of any ethnic group. We have different characters across various religions and ethnic groups.

“The most important thing is our ability to tolerate each other and our ability to resolve all issues when conflicts arise.”
Responding to requests made by the delegation, Governor Diri approved a bus for Muslim community and promised to address others when the economy of the state improves. 

Speaking earlier, the Vice President of the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Bayelsa State, Alhaji Yakubu Otobo, commended the governor for his fatherly role in relating with different religious organisations.
Alhaji Otobo said this has endeared the governor to him and other Muslim faithful and strengthened their resolve to maintain peace and nip religious tension in the bud. 

He appealed for more support from the government towards building a befitting central mosque as well as sponsorship of Muslims to pilgrimage.

Read More

Bayelsa Govt Resolves Disputed Land Issue With Nigerian Navy

Following the intervention of the Bayelsa State government, the dispute between some landlords and the Nigerian Navy at Agudama-Epie community has been peacefully resolved.
Speaking in his office in Government House, Yenagoa, when he received the report of the committee set up to look into the issues on Monday, Governor Douye Diri stated that available facts show that the Navy were the rightful owners of the land, which was in dispute. 

A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted him as commending the committee headed by Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Konbowei Benson, for doing what he described as a good job, which according to him prevented a bloodbath. 

The governor also commended the Navy for its patience during the period of the committee’s work and stressed the need for individuals and groups, particularly security agencies, to work with the government to sustain the prevailing peace in the state. 

He said the government was committed to the peaceful co-existence of residents of the state just as he lauded the former landlords for not taking the laws into their hands but instead reported the issue to government for necessary action.

His words: “We would have had a bloodbath but the work of the committee averted that. We are here not just receiving the report. Actually the report is that there was no dispute between the Navy and those who bought the land without first of all ascertaining if it was encumbered.

“Clearly, the Nigerian Navy had no other contender to the land. Maybe the only person who would have had issues with the Navy would have been retired Rear Admiral Festus Porbeni who sold it. So, the Nigerian Navy did not commit any offence.

“Going forward, before you purchase land, visit the Ministry of Lands and Housing. The lawyers say that ignorance is not an excuse under the law. What you did was to buy a land that had already been bought by the Navy and in the process you slowed down their pace of development.”

Acting on the report of the committee and facts available to both parties, Governor Diri stated that the land in question was sold to the Nigerian Navy by Rear Admiral Porbeni and that the security agency were the rightful occupiers of the land. 

On the former claimants’ appeal for compensation, Diri said it would be looked into administratively and a decision communicated to them through the Ministry of Lands. 

In his remarks, chairman of the committee, Dr. Konbowei Benson, stated that it discovered that the Navy were the rightful owners of the land but as part of its recommendations appealed to the governor to support the former claimants to relocate. 

Some of the former landlords, who spoke, admitted to being on the wrong side of the issues but appealed to the governor to support them by providing some form of compensation for their loss.

Read More

Bayelsa To Review Host Community, Oil Firms’ GMoU

 To forestall conflicts in oil-bearing communities, the Bayelsa State government has said it would commence a review of the Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) between Cluster Boards and Community Trusts with international oil companies (IOCs) in the state.

 It said henceforth, such agreements would have to be approved and monitored by the state government. Governor Douye Diri, who gave the directive through a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said the agreements should also align with policies of the state government in order to foster better relationship between host communities and the oil companies on the one hand and the indigenes of such communities on the other hand. His words: “The state government is interested in being a party to such agreements to ensure all parties comply with the terms.

A situation where oil firms breach agreements with their host would no longer be tolerated. This often resulted in conflicts in communities. “Consequently, no community in the state, especially those in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, should sign any GMoU with IOCs and security companies operating in their area.

Where such agreements have been inadvertently entered into, they remain invalid subject to a review by the Office of the Attorney-General through the Ministries of Local Government and that of Mineral Resources. “As a government that is interested in the peace and wellbeing of our communities, we want to ensure the relationship between host and cluster communities with the oil companies is cordial, with all parties keeping to the terms of the agreement entered into.”

Read More