NEWS

Gov Diri Opposes Involvement Of Non-State Actors In Pipeline Protection

Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, has voiced criticism towards the Federal Government’s maritime protection policy, which involves employing non-state actors to safeguard the country’s maritime environment. He urged a reassessment of this security approach, cautioning that it might lead to future regrets due to potential security challenges.

During a visit from the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, at the Government House in Yenagoa, Diri emphasized the need for the Federal Government to reconsider its strategy. He expressed concern that relying on unconventional security agents could exacerbate security issues and advocated for reinforcing the Nigerian Navy’s capacity to fulfill its constitutional role.

The governor, represented by his deputy Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, emphasized the importance of not allowing private individuals or groups to independently handle oil pipeline surveillance contracts without conventional security agency oversight. Diri’s stance, conveyed through his deputy’s media aide, Mr. Doubara Atasi, highlighted the necessity of supporting the Navy to effectively protect critical national assets in coastal communities. Moreover, he pointed out instances of reported human rights violations and security breaches by surveillance contractors in local communities around the state.

Diri said, “The cry of the Bayelsa State Government is that non-state actors are not the best to protect our oil assets. In the name of oil pipeline protection contracts, most of them violate the rights of our people in our localities. Let us not do things that we will regret as a country tomorrow. What the Federal Government is doing right now is like cutting the nose to spice the face.

“You don’t need to cut off your head because you have rotten teeth. You simply look for a toothbrush. You will be surprised that we will get to a point where some of these non-state actors will start to challenge us.

“I will suggest that the Nigerian Navy should be allowed to play that role to protect our critical oil assets. The Federal Government should, therefore, rejig or reinvent its security strategy to securing these assets.”

However, he praised the officers and personnel of the Nigerian Navy stationed in Bayelsa for exhibiting professionalism while carrying out their official duties, contributing significantly to the state’s status as one of the most peaceful in the nation.

While urging the navy to maintain this high standard, Diri recommended to the Chief of Naval Staff the importance of officially acknowledging and rewarding these officers for their exceptional professionalism thus far.

In his earlier comments, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla, the Chief of Naval Staff, emphasized the indispensable role of Bayelsa State due to its strategic positioning and hosting of crucial oil and gas facilities in the Niger Delta.

Ogalla characterized the recent electoral triumph of the governor and his deputy as a genuine win for the people of Bayelsa. He appealed to both the government and residents of the state to continue their positive relationship with the Navy for enhanced services.

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