Onungwe Obe in Yenagoa
Bayelsa State Government yesterday condemned the attack by suspected militants in the Niger Delta area on operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.
The attack was allegedly carried out by armed militants engaged in crude oil theft.
This was alleged in a statement issued by the Senior Special Assistant to the state Deputy Governor, Mr. Doubara Atasi, after a meeting at the Government House in Yenagoa among the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo; NSCDC officials, community leaders and stakeholders from Ekeremor.
The militants were said to have ambushed and attacked a team of NSCDC personnel, and engaged them in a gun battle that led to the loss of weapons. One of the NSCDC men was reportedly captured and taken away by the militants.
The members of the Amabulou community, however, rescued the personnel.
The state government, however, warned that it would descend on communities discovered to be aiding and abetting criminality in the state.
The deputy governor ordered community leaders to work with security agencies to identify and expose criminal elements within the community.
Ewhrudjakpo emphasised the need for effective collaboration between community leaders, security agencies and the government to safeguard lives and property in the state.
He said 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 deputy governor also warned that the state government would be brutal in dealing with community leaders who provide a safe haven for pipeline vandals, pirates and other criminals to carry out their operations. According to him, “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.”
Meanwhile, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, CP Akpoebi Agberebi (rtd), and the state Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Commandant Christiana Abiakam-Omanu, applauded the people of Amabulou community for rescuing the NSCDC officials.