In a bid to beef up security in the state, the Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has strengthened the state security outfits by commissioning 50 brand new operational vehicles, 40 motorbikes and security gadgets.
Diri also signed the Community Safety Corp Bill into law in order to streamline operations of the state security outfits, even as he warned criminal elements to steer clear of the state.
The law brings the operations of security outfits such as the Operation Doo-Akpo, Bayelsa Volunteers and the Bayelsa Vigilantes under one umbrella.
The governor commissioned these on Tuesday, during the re-launch of the state security outfit code-named Operation Doo-Akpo.
Speaking at the event which was held at the Peace Park in Yenagoa, Diri noted that the exercise was to reinvigorate the security architecture of the state to make it more efficient and effective in crime fighting.
According to him, the operations of the state security outfit were not to usurp the functions of the conventional security agencies but to support and collaborate with them in efforts to rid the state of criminals.
While acknowledging the enormous resources used to procure the assets, Diri said the priority of his administration is to ensure the prosperity of all, which cannot be achieved without security of lives and property.
He said the timing of the relaunch is appropriate as the festive season draws closer with the attendant increase in criminal activities.
Describing crime fighting as a collective effort by all Bayelsans, Diri appealed to security agencies to conceal the identity of informants to encourage people to report criminal activities, even as he appealed to Bayelsans to provide information to the security agencies that would lead to more effective crime fighting.
The governor further thanked security agencies for their role in ensuring the relative peace in the state. He also appreciated his predecessor, Senator Seriake Dickson, for establishing the Operation Doo-Akpo in 2012, which he said has over the years assisted in combating crime.
According to the governor, “I have just signed the Community Safety Corps Bill into law. This is intended to complement the work of the constitutional recognised security agencies.
“The law also harmonises the special security outfits of the state under one umbrella. This means that henceforth Operation Doo-Akpo, Bayelsa Volunteers and the Bayelsa Vigilante will operate under one umbrella.
“In line with our Action Plan for security, we have made progress in changing the mindset of our operatives, enhanced intelligence gathering, reinforced our alertness and increased mobility and response time. After comprehensively and holistically evaluating the situation, we have made informed and tailored decisions, allowing us to re-engage Doo-Akpo even more effectively, strengthening performance and guaranteeing the safety and security of our people. Improving responsiveness also requires that we have the requisite equipment and assets.
“Consequently, it gives me great joy to re-launch Operation Doo-Akpo. Necessarily, the programme has been rejigged, redesigned and refreshed to be more responsive and responsible in carrying out its duties.
“In this first phase, I am commissioning for immediate deployment 50 brand new Hilux patrol vehicles, a new state-wide command-and-control system based on Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) Technology, 40 brand new motorcycles and a K-9-unit.”
Also speaking, Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, CP Agberebi Akpoebi (rtd), said the outfit had assisted in combating crime in the state, adding that Bayelsa is one of the safest states in the South- South geopolitical zone.
According to him, the swift response of Doo-Akpo to distress calls encouraged residents to believe in the capability of the outfit to ensure their safety.
Earlier, Speaker of the House of Assembly, Abraham Ingobere, stated that the Community Safety Corp Bill, which harmonised activities of security outfits in the state, would assist in curbing crime, protection of government infrastructure in rural areas and engage youths of the state.