“On 15 March 2019, at about 2100hours, unknown gunmen operating in a Toyota Camry car, Reg. number unknown, went to a hotel at Opolo, Yenagoa and without provocation opened fire at the two policemen on duty,” Butswat said.
He added, “The policemen fired back at the armed robbers and in the ensuing gun battle, one sergeant was fatally wounded. He was rushed to the Federal Medical Center, Yenagoa, where he was later confirmed dead. The other policeman is responding to treatment.”
The account by the police was corroborated by the residents of the area who said the gunmen stormed the hotel and started shooting at the policemen who were caught unawares.
The command spokesman noted that the attackers also had their own share of the gunfight as they escaped with bullets wounds.
According to him, following the incident, a team of policemen raided a notorious criminal hideout based on a tip-off, an operation which led to the arrest of some suspects.
Butswat said that those arrested had been providing the police with useful information that would help to apprehend other fleeing suspects.
Efforts are on to track them,” he stated.According to the army, there are allegations that the armed men had been robbing people around the market for some time now. Items recovered from the gunmen include one locally made pistol, ammunition, one mobile phone and the sum of N8,350.
While reassuring the people of Bayelsa State and environs of their safety, army asked those in possession of illegal arms to turn them in to security agencies or be ready to face the full wrath of the law.
These incidents which occurred in quick succession has created fear amongst residents of the state.
The Commissioner of Police in the State, Don Awunah, who spoke with Channels Television blamed the attacks on increased insecurity on the waterway and the riverine topography of Bayelsa State.
“Bayelsa is 80% water and 20% land. So we are more likely to have crime that is water based and increase in sea piracy. We are on top of it. We are collaborating with other agencies including the Navy, Army, JTF and Civil Defence,” he said.
He also called for calm amongst residents, saying he believes the collaborative efforts of all security agencies in the state will nib the ugly situation in the bud.
The Yenagoa and Sagbama branches of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Bayelsa state, have raised an alarm over what they described as the denial of justice to the people of the region.
The Federal High Court and the Industrial High Court jointly addressed a press conference to inform the general public of their displeasure over the lack of legal activities at the Yenagoa division of both courts.
Hon. Justice Tersee Agbadu-Fishimi of National Industrial Court and Hon. Justice H. Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, the judges of both courts which have been adjudged to be among the busiest in the country, are currently undergoing criminal investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), hence their absence to preside over sittings.
Members of the association said they have since made appeals to the Chief Justice of the Federation and the National Executive of the Nigerian Bar Association to quickly fill up the void created by the investigation.
Among the agitators, was also the Attorney General of Bayelsa State, Kemesuode Wodu, who called for the immediate resumption of legal activities at the two affected courts.
He stated that his office had made serious efforts at ensuring that legal functions resume.
Meanwhile, the father of Ese Oruru, a 14 year old who was alleged to have been abducted by Yinusa, expressed worry over the fact that the lack of legal activities at the court would further stall the court proceedings.
Reacting to the matter, the Bayelsa State government, advised citizens to continue to exercise patient as well as remain law abiding.
The government also called on relevant authorities to post new judges to preside over the courts while awaiting the conclusion of the investigation of the accused judges.
In a bid to stem the tide of crime and criminality in the Niger Delta region, the Nigerian Army says it is planting more military brigades across the country.
Speaking during the commissioning of a temporary accommodation for the newly created 16 Brigade in Yenagoa, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, said the army is poised to tackle insecurity within the Niger Delta region.
General Buratai highlighted the reasons behind the setting up of the new brigade while appreciating Governor Seriake Dickson for support given to the Army in Bayelsa State.
In his response, Governor Dickson lauded the temporary office of the 16 Brigade and described it as the best in the federation.
He, however, appealed for more support from the Army authorities to the newly established brigade.
In his address, the Commander of the Brigade, Brigadier General Kelvin Aligbe, outlined the achievements they have made in the absence of a temporary site.
Pleased by the accolades received, the commander and officers of the 16 Brigade stated their commitment to protecting the citizens, waterways and national assets in Bayelsa State.
The Bayelsa state command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), has revealed plans by some persons to attack investments of MTN in the state as a reprisal following the ongoing xenophobia attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
In a statement, the Bayelsa Commander of NSCDC, Mr Desmond Agu, said that the corps is on red alert to stop aggrieved persons from destroying MTN facilities in the state.
Mr Agu said intelligence reports revealed that such persons were planning to vent their anger on MTN’s masts and other facilities.
The Commander however advised the people behind such plots to desist from toeing a violent path and appealed to members of the public to report suspicious people to the corps.
“Our attention has been drawn to an intelligence report that some people are planning to carry out an attack on South African investments, especially the MTN’s telecommunication masts and other facilities following the ongoing xenophobia attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.
“Members of the public especially Bayelsans are hereby advised to desist from such acts and avoid taking laws into their hands.
“As an organisation saddled with the responsibility of protecting our critical national infrastructures, the command remains committed to deliver on its mandate.
“Members of the public are hereby advised to report person or group of persons suspected to be planning such attacks to the command,” Mr Agu stated.
Amidst the challenges of inadequate local refining capacity and meeting the demand for refined petroleum products, the Federal Government seems to be thinking of encouraging artisanal refineries which had bridged the product supply gap for decades.
Although outlawed, more than 60% of diesel and kerosene used in the region are sourced from local bush refineries produced from stolen crude through fractional distillation.
The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Niger Delta, Brigadier General Paul Boroh (rtd), says the Federal Government plans to liberalise modular refineries to develop the oil rich Niger Delta region.
Mr Boroh, who is the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, assured the people of the region that the proposed modular refineries in oil-producing communities would engender a new era in the Niger Delta region.
New Vision For Niger Delta
Speaking on Saturday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, he restated the commitment of the President Buhari’s administration towards the people of the region.
The President’s aide stated that the Federal Government’s intention of making oil bearing the hub for refining and related activities would not only create decent jobs and income for the people, but put them in a better position to drive the local economy.
While lauding the government’s new vision for the region, appealed to the youths to be calm, focused and more articulate in their quest for better living conditions and take advantage of the good gestures of the present administration.
“The Federal Government is seeking better ways for Niger Delta people to participate in the development process of the region through meaningful engagements.
“The Federal Government’s new partnership arrangement will bring about an unprecedented infrastructural development in the region.
“The government is working with the oil-producing states, local governments, oil companies and the private sector, including civil society organisations to achieve sustainable development in Niger Delta,” the amnesty coordinator revealed.
New Hub For Refining Activities
Boroh further commended the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, for taking the pains to identify with the people through his tour of the region.
“The planned oil-communities-intervention-meeting by the Federal Government to chart short, medium and long term development blueprint is a strategy to enhance the socio-economic activities in the region.
“The proposed coming on stream of modular refineries in oil bearing communities, the ex-agitators and other youths in the region will be meaningfully engaged in decent job.
“Those with entrepreneurial skills in oil and gas can participate in the petro-chemical industries in their communities which will soon become the new hub for refining activities,” he explained.
Reacting to Boroh’s remarks, Chairman of Phase II Ex-agitators in the Niger Delta, Honourable Salvation Rifus, applauded President Buhari for demonstrating his sincere wish for the people of the region.
He said the option of allowing modular refineries to be located in oil bearing communities in the Niger Delta region speaks volume of the sincere intentions of the present administration towards the Niger Delta youths.
Rifus added that the tour of the oil communities by the Acting President had shown that the Federal Government was committed to the development of the region.
He noted that the decision to allow the oil bearing communities to legally operate modular refineries was the best thing that has happened to the people, describing it as a welcome development.
A multi-million-naira electrical shop (Jico Tech Nigeria), located at Amarata, in the heart of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital, rendering electrical services to the entire state, was on Saturday gutted by fire.
An interview with one of the sales boys at the shop revealed that the inferno may have been caused by an electrical spark.
The shop is housed at the ground floor of a gigantic one storey building with other adjoining shops and its warehouse and staff rooms upstairs.
Explaining the incident, the sales boy, Uzodinma Okoye, said: “at around 7:00 am in the morning, NEPA brought light and we changed over. After a little while when we came down to start business for today, we saw heavy smoke coming out from the store where hundreds of million naira electrical materials are shaded.
“We raised alarm and forced the door open but behold, the fire had long engulfed almost all sections of the shop”.
The head of sales however said he was satisfied with the quick arrival of the fire fighters and their efforts in putting out the fire, limiting the impact of the damage from spreading to other parts of the building.
The acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has assured the Niger Delta region of the Federal Government’s readiness to genuinely draw a roadmap, that will lead to the peace and development of oil producing states.
The acting President, who is on a one day visit to Bayelsa State made this known in Yenagoa, the state capital.
After commissioning a new built Helicopter, Prof. Osinbajo proceeded to the secretariat of the Traditional Rulers Council, where he was received by the first class traditional rulers in the state.
However, the chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council and Amayanabo of Twon Brass, HRM king Alfred Diete-Spiff while welcoming Prof Osinbajo, explained the reasons behind the ongoing activism in the Niger Delta that is now commonly referred to as militancy.
Meanwhile, the Bayelsa state Governor, Seriake Dickson, told Prof. Osinbajo that in spite of all the underlying issues regarding pipeline vandalism and the agitations for resource control, Bayelsa state remains the most peaceful state in the region.
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has called on the Nigeria Police to set up a motorcycle patrol unit in a bid to extend its dragnet to all nooks and crannies of the state.
Dickson suggested the new move in the fight against crime and criminality in the state, while receiving the new Commissioner of Police, Mr Asuquo Amba, and his entourage in Government House, Yenagoa.
While assuring Amba of his administration’s total support in his efforts to make Bayelsa state crime-free, the Governor called on the Police to “flush out criminals, kidnappers, pipeline vandals, cultists and their sponsors”.
“It is necessary to make Bayelsa State the safest state in the country,” he said.
He also cautioned against the politicisation of security-related issues in the state, stressing that the matters of security should be treated strictly without any political undertone.
The Governor urged the State Command of the Police to collaborate with other security agencies in the state towards sustaining the existing peace, as a peaceful and stable atmosphere is paramount to attracting investments and development.
“You have a crop of dedicated and well-meaning officers and men in this command and we are proud of the work they do, so you have our support.
“The only thing I always say when Police Commissioners come is that, in Bayelsa we don’t condone politicisation of crime.
“Crime is crime, crime has no colour, no creed and crime has no political affiliation and that is the golden rule we want to see observed,” he said.
The new CP in his response pointed out that the Bayelsa government’s policy of zero tolerance for crime and violence was in sync with the Inspector General of Police directive to all the commands in the country.
While expressing preparedness to intensify policing in the state, the CP highlighted some of his achievements within two weeks of his posting to Bayelsa.
“The Police had apprehended a syndicate comprising two ex-soldiers specialised in stealing parked vehicles, using master keys and five persons suspected of vandalising the state-owned gas turbine,” Amba said.
The Police Commissioner also announced the arrest of a suspected kidnapper, and the recovery of 10 vehicles so far from the syndicate.
He added that investigations were ongoing in all the cases.
The Bayelsa State Government has expressed concern and displeasure with oil firms for flouting court orders on oil spill cases in the state.
The government decried the alleged ‘blatant disregard for court rulings’ and called on oil firms operating in the state to embrace the rule of law.
The appeal was made by the Special Adviser to Governor Seriake Dickson on Oil and Gas, Mr Felix Ayah, in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.
“Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) has reneged its corporate social responsibilities to maintain peace in its operations, negating the state government’s effort to strengthen the existing peace for smooth operations by (the) oil firms.
“After going through the outcome of the court’s verdict at my disposal authenticating Anyamawari family as certified owners of the land, it is incumbent on SPDC to recognise and treat them as such,” said Mr Ayah who mediated in a peace meeting between Onyoma community in Southern Ijaw and the SPDC.
He advised the Anyamawari family to channel all relevant documents to appropriate quarters of the company for prompt action and payments of all outstanding obligations without further delay.
An official of the SPDC, who said that the oil firm had laid down procedures in resolving issues with communities where it operates, urged the community to follow the same process.
The Bayelsa Government had in January 2016 sued the Nigerian Agip Oil Company, seeking 1.6 trillion naira damages for pollution caused by an oil spill in Brass area of the state in November 2013.
Women lawyers in Bayelsa State have expressed worry over the rising cases of defilement of minors and violence against the girl child and women in some parts of the state.
The lawyers, under the aegis of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), led by their chairperson, Dise Ogbise-Erhisere, said the available data on cases recorded in the last three weeks showed that four underage girls were defiled.
They added that two girls were also attacked with machete while a seven-year-old boy was beaten to death over alleged wizardry.
In a statement issued at the end of their monthly general meeting held in Yenagoa, the women said although FIDA stood up for the victims while arrests were made, they were shocked that some of the suspects were released by the Police and victims’ families advised to settle out of court.
“With the alarming rate of violence against children, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Bayelsa State chapter, has called on security agencies to redouble their efforts in the proper investigation and prosecution of alleged suspects.
“FIDA noted that in the last two weeks there are several reports of Violence Against Children (VAC). FIDA cites the case where two girls were given bodily injury with a machete to the point of death; they were admitted at the Okolobiri General Hospital.
“A case of defilement of a seven-year-old girl by a friendly uncle in Ayama-Ijaw in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area. Another set of four minors were defiled.
“The case was reported at the Akenfa Police Station and the perpetrator was granted bail and the parties involved were advised to settle out of court.
“Similarly in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, a seven-year-old boy was brought in dead at the Federal Medical Center after several bodily injury.
“FIDA learnt the boy was accused of witchcraft. He was beaten to death by his father and step mother,” the statement read.
Ogbise-Erhisere noted that the incidents were painful and worrisome, despite the campaigns being staged by FIDA in Bayelsa State, south-south Nigeria.