The Bayelsa state government has directed all local government councils to speedily evolve legislations prohibiting the movement of speed boats after 7 p.m. without permit.
The state’s deputy governor, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the directive yesterday at separate meetings with traditional rulers from Southern Ijaw and Nembe Local Government Areas.
He noted that the measure would go a long way to complement efforts of security agencies to curb crime on water routes in the state.
“The issue of security is a major one for us, and if we take it for granted, it is going to weigh down on all of us.
“We are directing local governments to, between now and the end of October, set up vigilance groups. All communities must have their vigilance groups set up.
“The issue of the vigilance groups will not only lie on Divisional Police Officers (DPOs).
“The screening of members of the vigilance groups will be done by the DPOs who, in turn will be supervised by the Commissioner of Police.
“The Commissioner for Local Governments is hereby directed to write officially to local government chairmen to form their vigilance groups between now and the end of October.
“We will not leave the funding to the communities; the local governments are going to be responsible for the funding, with support from the state government.
“The commissioner will do letters to all the councils to work assiduously to pass the anti-night boat movement bye-law, to proscribe speed boats movements beyond 7 p.m.
“Any speed boat without security permit moving after 7 p.m. is an enemy boat,’’ the deputy governor said.
The Ibenanaowei of Bomo clan, King Joshua Igbugburu, enjoined royal fathers from Southern Ijaw Local Government Area to prioritise security.
In his remarks, the paramount ruler of Okoroma clan in Nembe Local Government Area, King Bethran Douglas, requested for a military Joint Task Force post and police presence in the area to check activities of criminals.
In their separate remarks, the Commissioner of Police in the state, Echeng Echeng, and the Commander of 16th Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Oluwarotimi Awolo, appealed for cooperation from the people of Bayelsa in the fight against criminality.