By Amgbare Ekaunkumo, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa State Government has again called on the Federal Government to expedite action over the establishment of a marine safety corps to effectively address security challenges on the waterways in the country.
The State Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, made the call on Tuesday when a delegation from the Nigeria Police Trust Fund paid him courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo pointed out that establishing the marine equivalent of the existing Federal Road Safety Corps would help in the fight against sea piracy, kidnapping and other crimes in the Niger Delta.
He pointed out that policing the creeks of Bayelsa demanded a lot of logistics, noting that the state needs more support in terms of gunboats to enable the marine division of the state Police Command to effectively secure the creeks.
While expressing the state government’s preparedness to collaborate with the Federal Government on security, he added that the Marine Safety Corps would support other security agencies to safeguard critical national assets such as oil facilities in the state.
According to him, until the Federal Government and the 36 states work closely together to fight against insecurity, Nigeria would not be able to achieve sustainable peace and tranquility.
Expressing delight over the infrastructure projects earmarked by the Nigeria Police Trust Fund for Bayelsa, Senator Ewhrudjakpo said the projects would go a long way to complement the efforts of the state government in the security sector.
The Deputy Governor, who passed a vote of confidence on the Commissioner of Police, CP Ben Nebolisa Okolo and his team, expressed hope that the visit of the NPTF would facilitate the take-off of the Marine Police Training Institute at Toru-Orua in Sagbama Local Government Area.
His words, “Our security challenges are more in the riverine areas and if we are able to properly police those areas, we would have done a lot to boost our security architecture.
“So, we need more gunboats to help police our rivers and rivulets and help cover where we believe are to be their (criminals) escape routes. This will also help improve our oil production.
“That is why we have been calling on the Federal Government to establish a marine safety corps just as we have the Road Safety Corps to effectively police our waterways
“We are ready to collaborate with you on the provision of a Police Headquarters as the present headquarters is not befitting. We believe you can do your own contribution in your 2022 budget so that we can come and assist you to get a befitting Police Headquarters,” he said.
Earlier in her remarks, the leader of the team, Mrs. Gladys Odegbaro, explained that the Nigeria Police Trust Fund officials were on an inspection visit to police formations under Zone 16, which has its headquarters in Bayelsa.
Mrs. Odegbaro, who is a board member of the NPTF, said the fact-finding visit would enable them to know the basic needs of the various police divisions in the state.
She said the NPTF in its current budget had earmarked to rehabilitate the Sagbama and Ekeki police stations as well as provide some infrastructure at the Marine Police Training Institute, Toru-Orua, police driving school and staff quarters.
While requesting the state government’s support in the building of a more befitting headquarters of Police in the state, Mrs Odegbaro, promised to convey the requests for gunboats to the appropriate quarters for action.