Bayelsa State Government has directed traditional rulers in the state to open registers to profile visitors and non-indigenes engaged in business and other socio-economic activities in their areas or face its wrath.
The Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the directive during the second round of meetings with traditional rulers across the state, beginning with Ekeremor at his office in Yenagoa.
Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi, on Saturday explained that the state government had earlier directed the traditional rulers to carry out the profiling in its previous meetings with them in which securty topped the agenda.
Making reference to a recent policy announcement by the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, he maintained that the issue of profiling had become compulsory in view of the current security situation in the country.
The deputy governor described the situation where most communities in Bayelsa do not know the number and kinds of people carrying out all sorts of activities in their forests, farmlands and rivers, as “no longer acceptable to the government.”
Ewhrudjakpo lamented that Bayelsans had left their traditional fishing and farming occupations to strangers, reiterating his call on the royal fathers to expedite action on the opening of registers and close monitoring of visitors in their various communities.
He also expressed concern over recent violent activities in some communities in Ekeremor LGA due to unnecessary chieftaincy tussles and dispute over the chairmanship of cluster boards and community development committees (CDC).
He urged traditional rulers to reside in their communities as the custodians of peace and play a neutral role in CDC and other community elections in order to earn and sustain the respect of their subjects.
Ewhrudjakpo said: “In our previous meeting, we took time to explain the policy thrust of the government on security. We told you that communities will now do what we call profiling of visitors. We will be happy if you inform us in this meeting what each of you have done in that respect.
“We are going to follow up our directive now. So, you must cooperate with the government to secure our communities because as you all know, security is a collective responsibility.
“Only last month, the National Security Adviser had written and announced that it is now compulsory for all traditional rulers in their communities to have a book to register visitors that come to their communities and what they come to do.
“You can see that what we discussed at the last meeting was preemptive of that announcement and the action the Federal Government is taking now. It means, we are on the right course.
“We will appreciate it if you expedite it, because we need to know who is coming to farm, fish, or do any other business in our communities. Unfortunately, we have left all our traditional occupations to strangers to do, and now, we buy fish from strangers who have taken over our rivers and fishing ports.”
In their separate remarks, the Deputy Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Hon. Michael Ogbere, and the Chairman, House Committee on Youth and Sports, Hon. Tari Porri, expressed concern over the rising tide of piracy in the area.
They called on the traditional rulers to provide useful information to the security agencies to curb the menace.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Local Government Administration, Chief Thompson Amule, enjoined the royal fathers to always be on the same page with the government to promote unity and peaceful coexistence in their communities.
In his contribution, the new Commissioner of Police, Bayelsa State, CP Echeng Eworo Echeng, promised to strengthen community policing and urged community leaders and their people to provide useful intelligence to the police for prompt response and action.