INSECURITY: Bayelsa community seeks govt intervention as criminals sack settlement – From Kingsley Okorie

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Bilabiri community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa, has called on the state and federal governments to restore normalcy in the area following the sack of residents by suspected criminals.

  David Bazigha, Chairman, Community Development Committee (CDC), for Bilabiri 1, coastline settlement made the call in an interview in Yenagoa on Saturday. 

He said that the call had become necessary following the rise in criminal activities in the area which led to the death of a former Council Chairman, a development that compelled residents to flee the area. 

“We are appealing to the state and federal governments to salvage the Bilabiri Kingdom from criminal elements holding sway in the area and attacking residents.

“We lost the former Chairman, Aliebiri Rural Development Authourity, Bilabiri Hon Frank Seide and two others and this led to the entire settlement taking refuge elsewhere leaving the area desolate. 

“The community leadership as we speak are all in exile and the criminals have chased residents away while they engage in their nefarious activities that is why we are sending a distress call to government. 

“We had raised concerns earlier on the activities of these miscreants in a letter the CDC Chairmen of Bilabiri 1 and 2 wrote alongside the monarchs to security agencies dated March 19. 

“We had appealed to the security agencies to wade in and sanitize the area by helping us flush out these undesirable elements amongst us, but things have degenerated. 

“The loss of lives would have been prevented and now those of us who championed to end criminality have become their targets and we have to flee,” Bazigha said. 

He recalled that the community leadership had in a March 19 letter to the security agencies urged them to flush out criminals from its fold. 

In a letter, the community appealed to the Joint Task Force deployed to protect oil facilities in the Niger Delta to deploy its surveillance boats to the area to fish out miscreants.

The letter was signed by Chief Peter Pinne, Amananawei (Paramount Ruler) in Bilabiri 1 and Chief Minna Fun, Amananawei of Bilabiri 2. 

Other signatories are David Bazigha, Community Development Committee (CDC) Chairman, Bilabiri 1 and Mr Esau Joshua, CDC Chairman Bilabiri 2. 

The letter stated that the community leadership had resolved to rid the area of pirates, militants, oil thieves and kidnappers who brought the name of the area to disrepute.

It added that the development was an expression of the people of Bilabiri to support the government’s efforts at maintaining a peaceful atmosphere for legitimate economic activities.

However, when contacted for reaction on the development, Superintendent of Police , Asinim Butwat Spokesman for the Police Command in Bayelsa said he was awaiting details on the incident.

The JTF Headquarters in Yenagoa declined comments, saying that only the Defense Headquarters has the mandate to comment on their operations. 

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