The Bayelsa State House of Assembly has taken another step to stop the lingering boundary dispute between the people of Nembe in the state and Kalabari in Rivers state.
The State Assembly passed a two point resolution which urged the state government through relevant ministries, department and agencies to work closely with members of the National Assembly from the area and the National Boundary Commission to quickly resolve the boundary disputes.
The lawmakers also directed the executive arm to mobilise adequate security to the Oluasiri area of Nembe and adjoining riverine communities in the area to protect the people from frequent attacks by armed men from Rivers State.
The resolutions followed a motion raised by Mr. Iniyobiyo Obiene representing Nembe constituency 3 in the State House of Assembly and unanimously adopted by the lawmakers as read out by the Speaker, Mr Konbowei Friday Benson.
Mr. Obiene, had told his colleagues that the people in the two oil-bearing communities, Oluasiri in Nembe and Soku in Kalabari were fully aware of the boundary and wondered why the Kalabari people would want to step out of the boundary.
“Given the fact that Oluasiri, Robert Kiri, Ekulama I, Ekulama II, and their environs are border communities cum settlements that bids the eastern boundary of Bayelsa state, it is true that these communities are in the volatile area prone to threats and attacks from their Rivers state neighbours even in the presence of security men deployed to the area by their government.
“Regrettably, our government has not been able to send security personnel to the area to ensure protection of lives and property of our people living there.
“This is evident in the kidnapping of one Charles Demi along Oluasuri waterways in December 2012, the destruction and burning of Ijaw-Kiri in the same year, the attack on one Mr.Amaebite Obiene and his colleagues at Sand-Sand village among others”, Obiene stated.
The lawmaker who said the hostilities in the disputed area had led to waste of lives, expressed worry that residents live in fear of intimidation and frequent harassment.
According to him, “Recently during the Phase II of the Enumeration Area Demarcation exercise conducted by the National Population Commission (NPC), in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa state, there were serious security threats.
“As the exercise proceeded to our border communities with Rivers state such as Robert Kiri, Belema I, Belema II, Ekulama I, Ekulama II, Ijaw-Kiri and Soku in the Oluasiri axis, there were attacks on our people which led to serious setbacks on our part. Mr. Speaker, if nothing is done urgently, the ugly scenario will replay itself in the census proper, scheduled to take place in 2018”.
In another development, the Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Mr. Konbowei Benson, has reacted to media reports that the House did not hold a public hearing as well as consult widely before passing the State Education Tax bill recently signed into law by Governor Seriake Dickson.
The Speaker said the relevant committees held public hearings and reached out to key stakeholders to get their inputs into the bill.
He said the education tax law was a good thing to have happened to the state in the quest to protect the future of millions of Bayelsa youths.
The Speaker insisted that the lawmakers were working for the collective interest of the state and would continue to support other arms of government to fast track development in the state.