Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson Saturday inaugurated the Commission of Enquiry into Activities of Surveillance Contractors with former Chief Judge of the state, Justice Margaret Akpomiemie as its chairman.
Besides Akpomiemie, other members of the commission include Mr. Whoknows Tiger, Anthony Obrike, Christiana Okafor and Ebikake Ebikipah while Barrister Dele J. Dele is to serve as its counsel.
The dovernor decried the activities of certain persons and corporate entities hiding under surveillance contracts to perpetrate heinous crimes.
He said the commission was saddled with the task of investigating reports of incidents affecting persons and properties and other unwholesome activities of surveillance contractors engaged by oil and gas servicing companies operating in the state.
Dickson, who queried the way security agencies supervise surveillance contractors, noted that the primary interest of the state government “is the stability and peace of the various communities.
“From 2015 till now, we have noticed, read, heard and seen the activities of certain persons and corporate entities who say they are surveillance contractors operating and reporting to people this state does not know, but are operating here.
“No one knows what they are doing, who are they reporting to, what is the scope of their engagement by the oil companies and their services and indeed how properly they are being supervised even by the security agencies themselves.
“This state has primary interest in the stability and peace of our communities. This state is concerned about claims and reports of the infractions on the rights of our people, reports and claims of communities being distabilised.
“So we are at a level when the state wants to comprehensively examine who are these people, where are they working, who has contracted them to do what, what are their activities, how many people have they engaged, what is their identity? Is it criminals that are gathering together, and for what purpose?
“As part of its terms of reference, the commission is to determine the identity and numbers of surveillance contractors, the composition of personnel, their location, the nature and effect of the activities and operation of surveillance contractors engaged by oil and gas servicing companies and their impact on the overall security condition in various communities.
“Also, it is to determine the identities of persons and property, if any, affected as a consequence of their activities or operations; establish the involvement of any other persons or entities, if any, in the activities or operation of surveillance contractors; recommend measures to ensure that the operations of surveillance contractors engaged by oil servicing companies are not in violation of any extant law or do not violate the rights of citizens of the state.”
The governor gave the commission 21 days to submit a report of its findings and make necessary recommendations to the government.