……..TO DEAL DECISIVELY WITH COMMUNITY LEADERS WHO HARBOURED SUSPECTED CRIMINALS .
By Isaac Money…Yenagoa.
Following an attack on operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa state by suspected militants, the state government is on the hunt of those behind the act.
Angered by the incident ,the state government has also warned community leaders against harbouring suspected criminals in their domain
While condemning the act in its entirety in a meeting with NSCDC officials, community leaders and stakeholders from the area at Government House, Yenagoa Thursday, a
statement from the office of the Deputy Governor, Senator, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo , through his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Doubara Atasi, the government vowed to apprehend those behind the act for prosecution.
Unidentified gunmen had reportedly ambushed and attacked a team of NSCDC personnel engaged them in a gun battle that led to the loss of weapons and abducted one of the personnel at Amabulou community in Ekeremor LGA of the state.
It was however learnt that members of the Amabulou community mobilised on a rescue mission as one of the NSCDC personnel was rescued from the suspected militants even as he was already disarmed by his abductors.
To forestall future occurrence, the Deputy Governor who directed community leaders to work closely with security agencies to identify and expose the criminal elements within the community to improve on the prevailing peace emphasised the need for effective collaboration between community leaders, security agencies and the government to safeguard lives and prosperity in the state.
The state government further warned that it would not hesitate to wield the big stick against any community found culpable for aiding and abetting crime and criminality in the state, and emphasised the role of stakeholders including traditional rulers, youth leaders and community development committee (CDC) chairmen have a critical role to play for any security arrangement to succeed.
The state government, Ewhrudjakpo assured the NSCDC, will leave no stone unturned to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators promising to consult the Governor with a view to setting up a committee that would look into the Amabulou issue.
He warned that the government would deal decisively with community leaders who provide a haven for pipeline vandals, pirates and other criminals to carry out their operations.
“Our community leaders should understand that they also have a lot of responsibilities. As a CDC chairman, you have a duty to protect government facilities in your community.
“Your duty as youth president includes identifying criminal elements in the community and reporting them to the CDC chairman, the ruler, elders of the community and even security agencies, and not to share in royalties.” Ewhrudjakpo said.
The statement quoted the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, CP Akpoebi Agberebi (Rtd), as applauding the community for the rescue efforts as well as condemning the attack on the NSCDC officials.
Atasi also quoted the state Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Commandant Christiana Abiakam-Omanu, to have commended the good-hearted indigenes of Amabulou who helped to rescue some of her personnel.
According to the statement, Abiakam-Omanu reportedly noted that the NSCDC enjoyed a cordial relationship with the community which led to the rescue operation and pledged to work with them in tracing those behind the criminal act to bring them to book.