By MIKE TAYESE, Yenagoa
GOVERNOR Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has warned that the resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta region would compound the development and environmental challenges facing the area.
The governor, therefore, cautioned youths in the Niger Delta region not to resort to violence and destruction of national assets as a means of ventilating their grievances.
Dickson, who spoke during a meeting with heads of oil companies operating in the state, emphasized the need for peace and security to engender sustainable development and prosperity in the region.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Right Honourable Konbowei Benson, Secretary to the State Government, Chief Serena Dokubo-Spiff, traditional rulers, including the Chairman, Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council, King Alfred Diete-Spiff.
Representatives of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), DAEWOO Nigeria Limited, SPDC, GLO DNL, and Century Group were also in attendance.
He condemned the resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta, particularly, the killing of military personnel and pipeline vandalism, assuring that government would leave no stone unturned to ensure the arrest, prosecution and appropriate punishment of those who responsible for the dastardly act.
While calling on security agencies to exercise restraint in their demand for justice, Dickson maintained that his administration was working closely with community leaders and other stakeholders not only to bring the perpetrators to book but also strengthen security network to safeguard strategic assets domiciled in the region.
He described Bayelsa as central to the security matrix of the Niger Delta, in particular, and the country, as a whole, saying he would continue to prioritise the security of lives and property despite dwindling resources accruing to the state.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, the governor called on the companies to take their corporate social responsibilities (CSR) a lot more seriously, assuring them of government commitment to providing an enabling environment for their operations.
“For us as a government, we always take primary interest in the security of lives and properties. And with respect to your operations, we take keen interest as to how we can best secure our strategic assets in this state. Our government has no room for criminality, violence and brigandage,” the governor said.
“And again let me repeat what I’ve been saying for the past one week on account of recent development in this region. We want to say that for us as a government, we will not allow any person or group of persons for whatever reason to resort to violence and destruction of strategic assets and investments and further degradation of our environment and escalation of tension in this state and region.”
“I particularly call on all misguided youths by whatever name or description not to resort to violence as a means of making any point. We are available to receive any complaints and grievances for us to take them up with the appropriate quarters.”
Also speaking, the General Manager, External Relations, Shell Nigeria, Mr. Igo Weli, described the meeting as fruitful.
He stressed the need for a peaceful environment for companies to operate optimally to be able to cater for their corporate social responsibilities.
While commending Dickson for providing a stable leadership, Weli, said the meeting also discussed the payment of appropriate taxes and levies to the state, assuring that the issue would be amicably resolved in a not-too-distant time.