The Bayelsa state governor, Sen. Douye Diri, on Wednesday, joined the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Her Excellency, Annet Gunther and the Country Representative of the United Nations (U.N) office on Drugs and Crime, Dr. Oliver Stolpe, to inaugurate projects executed in Otuan community, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, Bayelsa state.
The projects which include a Youth Development centre and a Police Post were funded by the German Government and facilitated by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Governor Diri, in his remarks, commended the German government and the UNODC for partnering with the state government, stressing that the best way to control crime was prevention.
“I have engaged with various embassies in Nigeria. I have engaged with the United Nations and the European Union in Nigeria. Now part of the efforts that we have made and yielded fruits is what you have witnessed today.
“Thank you for working with the Bayelsa State Government and for listening over the years that the best way to control crime is to prevent crime. And that is what you have done. We believe that this relationship will continue to flourish.
“We are the first state to establish an agency for crime prevention and crime control headed by Mrs Faith Zibbs-Godwin. Members of this agency have been working very hard with the UNODC, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) and other agencies to reduce crime and drug abuse,” he said.
The governor also granted the expansion of cassava processing centre, renovation of the Otuan Primary school and said qualified community vigilantes will be incorporated into the Community safety corps.
“The expansion of the Garri processing centre is hereby granted. On my way to this venue today, I saw a dilapidated Primary School, therefore, the Commissioner for Education is hereby directed to renovate that primary school with immediate effect, and also supply more chairs to the School.
“You also requested that the local vigilante be co-opted into the State security Corp. Again, the Coordinator of the State Security and Community Safety Corp is directed to look at your parameters and also, incorporate those who are qualified.
“I want to thank you, the people of Otuan Community in particular, for your co-operation with our developmental partners, the UNODC, the German Government, for ensuring that this project was completed on time and hitch free, and that is what we demand from every community in Bayelsa State,” Governor Diri stated.
The German Ambassador to Nigeria, Annett Gunther, in her remarks, said there was need to bring communities together and fashion out strategies to combat crime.
According to her, “the aim is to increase the quality of relationship between communities and security forces as the best way to fight crime was its prevention.”
Gunther noted that the youth centre would engage young people in sports and skills acquisition in order to prevent them from substance abuse and crime.
Also, the UNODC country representative, Dr. Oliver Stolpe, said the projects were designed to empower people in the communities by changing their mindsets as well as assisting them in addressing security challenges.
He equally urged the state government to engage UNODC, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other international development partners to ensure sustainable development plans for the state.
The Bayelsa Commissioner for Police, Mr Rumokere Ibani, on his part, solicited the cooperation of communities in the fight against sea piracy, kidnapping and other crimes.
Chief Victor Perebi Bob, who Spoke on behalf of Otuan community, said the projects and programmes instituted by the German government and UNODC would have far-reaching impact on the Otuan people and neighborhing communities in the area.
According to him, Otuan, which is one of the three pilot communities that make up Southern Ijaw Constituency 1, was without a functional police post for over a decade until UNODC’s intervention.
Present at the event include the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Secretary to the State Government, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei, Acting Chief of Staff, Dr Peter Akpe, Principal Secretary, Mr. Irorodamie Komonibo, State Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Solomon Agwana, Executive Chairman, State Internal Revenue Board and Dr Nimbofa Ayaowei.
Others include Rt. Hon. Edwin Monday Obolo, Leader of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Felix Bonny Ayah, member representing Southern Ijaw Constituency 1 in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Moses Marlon, member representing Southern Ijaw Constituency 3 in the State House of Assembly, members of the State Executive Council and other top Government officials.
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