Bayelsa State Governor Senator Douye Diri, has warned criminal elements to henceforth steer clear of the state.
Governor Diri gave the warning on Tuesday during the re-launch of the state security outfit code-named Operation Doo-Akpo.
He also commissioned 50 brand new operational vehicles, 40 motorbikes and security gadgets while signing into law the Community Safety Corp Bill to streamline operations of the state security outfits.
The law brings the operations of security outfits such as the Operation Doo-Akpo, Bayelsa Volunteers and the Bayelsa Vigilantes under one umbrella.
Speaking at the event at the Peace Park in Yenagoa, Governor Diri noted that the exercise was to reinvigorate the security architecture of the state to make it more efficient and effective in crime fighting.
According to him, the operations of the state security outfit was not to usurp the functions of the conventional security agencies but to support and collaborate with them in efforts to rid the state of criminals.
While acknowledging the enormous resources used to procure the assets, Diri said the priority of his administration is to ensure the prosperty of all, which cannot be achieved without security of lives and property.
He said the timing of the relaunch as appropriate as the festive season draws closer with the attendant increase in criminal activities.
Describing crime fighting as a collective effort by all Bayelsans, he appealed to security agencies to conceal the identity of informants to encourage people to report criminal activities.
He appealed to Bayelsans to provide information to the security agencies that would lead to more effective crime fighting.
The Bayelsa helmsman thanked security agencies for their role in ensuring the relative peace in the state.
He also appreciated his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson, for establishing the Operation Doo-Akpo in 2012, which he said has over the years assisted in combating crime.
His words: “I have just signed the Community Safety Corps Bill into law. This is intended to complement the work of the constitutional recognised security agencies.
“The law also harmonises the special security outfits of the state under one umbrella. This means that henceforth Operation Doo-Akpo, Bayelsa Volunteers and the Bayelsa Vigilante will operate under one umbrella.
“In line with our Action Plan for security, we have made progress in changing the mindset of our operatives, enhanced intelligence gathering, reinforced our alertness and increased mobility and response time. After comprehensively and holistically evaluating the situation, we have made informed and tailored decisions, allowing us to re-engage Doo-Akpo even more effectively, strengthening performance and guaranteeing the safety and security of our people. Improving responsiveness also requires that we have the requisite equipment and assets.
“Consequently, it gives me great joy to re-launch Operation Doo-Akpo. Necessarily, the programme has been rejigged, redesigned and refreshed to be more responsive and responsible in carrying out its duties.
“In this first phase, I am commissioning for immediate deployment 50 brand new Hilux patrol vehicles, a new state-wide command-and-control system based on Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Technology, 40 brand new motorcycles and a K-9-unit.”
Also speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, CP Agberebi Akpoebi (rtd), noted that the outfit had assisted in combating crime in the state, making it one of the safest states in the South- South geopolitical zone.
According to him, the swift response of Doo-Akpo to distress calls encouraged residents to believe in the capability of the outfit to ensure their safety.
Earlier, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, stated that the Community Safety Corp Bill, which harmonised activities of security outfits in the state, would assist in curbing crime, protection of government infrastructure in rural areas and engage youths of the state.
In a related development, Senator Diri earlier met with the leadership of Ohaneze-Ndigbo in the state at the Government House, Yenagoa.
The governor, at the meeting, assured the Igbo community and other non-natives in the state of their safety and security.
He restated his government’s resolve to invoke the laws of the land against anyone bent on jeopardising the peace and security of lives and property in the state.
Noting that although no society was crime-free, his administration would not fold its arms and allow investments in the state go down the drain due to the activities of criminals.
Diri assured the Ohaneze-Ndigbo leadership and their members doing business in the state that their investments were secure under his administration as they were partners in progress.
“The government of Bayelsa will continue to stand by the Constitution and defend the lives and property of everyone living in this state. It is in this light that we are scaling up the security of Bayelsa, particularly in the Yenagoa metropolis.
“All those involved as a syndicate and otherwise in crime and criminality should think twice now. There are laws against kidnapping in this state and those laws will be evoked.
“Our state has been one of the most peaceful in Nigeria and we want it to be that way. Let me further assure you that this government will work hand in gloves with you to protect and secure the lives and property of the Igbo people living in Bayelsa Stat as long as they live within the confines of the laws of Nigeria and the laws of Bayelsa.”
He urged them to disabuse their minds from the notion that the Igbos were targets of any act of crime and criminality, stating that crime had no discrimination.
Speaking earlier, leader of the Ohaneze-Ndigbo in Bayelsa, Mazi Onuma Johnson, said the Igbos have been part of the economic progress in the state and will continue to play their role in the development of the state.
Mazi Johnson, who is also the Special Adviser to the Governor on Non-Indigenes, said they were pleased to identify with the Prosperity Government, stating that the motto of every Igbo man is “Prosperity For