… says work on Akaba-Okodi Road impressive

Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has urged the people of Igbomotoru 1 and 2 communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area to return home, saying the Nigerian Army has assured the state government of their safety.

Senator Diri stated this on Tuesday when he visited the two communities with a high-powered delegation that included the Commander of the Nigerian Army 16 Brigade, Oluremi Obolo, to assess the situation in the area.

Soldiers had been deployed in the communities in search of the masterminds of the March 14 killing of 17 soldiers at Okuama in Delta State.

Addressing the paramount ruler, chiefs, elders and youths of both communities, Senator Diri again condemned the killing of the soldiers and charged the people, particularly the youths, not to allow themselves to be used as agents of criminality and destabilisation.

According to a statement by Daniel Alabrah, Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor, the Bayelsa governor wondered why the impact of an incident that occurred in Delta State should be felt in Igbomotoru, and warned youths not to forcefully take over leadership of their communities, stressing that the era of militancy was over and it was time for intellectual engagement to move the Ijaw nation forward.

The state’s helmsman equally warned traditional rulers and other community leaders to reside in their domains, stressing that any monarch not found in his base stands the risk of being dethroned.

Commending the Nigerian Army for their show of professionalism in handling the incident at Igbomotoru, the governor expressed gratitude to the military for their support and cooperation.

He said: “l like to appreciate the military high command for cooperating with us. I came here to tell the people of Igbomotoru not to allow such things to happen again. Enough is enough. The era of militancy is over. It is time for intellectual engagement. Our youths should not be seen and used as cannon fodders.

“This is a warning to all those who offer themselves for nefarious activities to have a rethink. The Prosperity Government has established technical colleges and initiated empowerment programmes for youths to key into to develop themselves.

“It is time for us to engage ourselves intellectually because that is the only route to developing our communities. I want to take roads to communities. That is my priority.

“I feel so sad that rather than keying into what our government is doing, some of our youths are getting involved in unproductive ventures. This is a different era. We cannot go back to the era of Adaka Boro. I am happy that President Bola Tinubu has approved the construction of the Lagos-Calabar coastal road covering the whole coast of Ijaw land.”

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He however advised the military to painstakingly investigate and unravel those behind the killing of the 17 soldiers for them to face the wrath of the law.

The governor announced the provision of relief materials, including cash, 150 bags of rice and 40 bags of garri to be distributed to the people of both communities.

A minute’s silence was observed in honour of the slain soldiers and about 20 youths said to have been killed in Igbomotoru 2 community.

Meanwhile, the governor has expressed satisfaction with the level of progress on the Akaba-Okodi Road that links Yenagoa to Ogbia Local Government Area.

Speaking with journalists during an inspection tour of the project on Monday, the governor said he decided to visit to personally assess the level of work on the road project.

According to the governor, “l came to see things for myself to ascertain the work that has been done so far. I was here last year before the November 11 governorship election and l can see the difference between then and now. So much has been achieved.”

Diri, who reaffirmed his administration’s resolve not to play politics with development of the state, pointed out that the road connects Ayakoro community in Ogbia council area, which is the hometown of All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftain and Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Dr Samuel Ogbuku.

“This is a road linking two local government areas between Yenagoa and parts of Ogbia local government area. This road links Ayakoro, which happens to be the community of the NDDC Managing Director, Dr Samuel Ogbuku. So, it shows that we are not playing politics with the development of our state and our people.

“I have a deep knowledge of what our people have gone through and l do not think that under me, having known all of that, will begin to play stupid and unreasonable politics and allow our people to continue to suffer. We want to end the suffering of our people to the best of our ability.”

Diri also berated those who criticised his administration unfairly, saying they do not mean well for the state.

Project Manager of the construction company, Emrock Concept, Engr. Bolaji Animashaun, explained that the 10km project will be completed in April 2025.