Category: Conflict Resolution

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.

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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.

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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.”

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