By Nathan Nwakamma
The Police in Bayelsa has deployed 16 patrol gunboats and 6, 000 policemen to tackle sea piracy and criminality in Bayelsa waterways to ensure safety of the water channels.
The Bayelsa Commissioner of Police, Mr Asuquo Amba, revealed this in Yenagoa on Saturday during a visit by members of the state chapter of the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO).
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CLO team was led by its Chairman, Chief Nengi James.
Amba said the 6,000 personnel had been deployed after undergoing marine training, while some are still being trained.
The commissioner said intelligence report gathered by the police showed that the Delta and Rivers waterways had recorded relative calm due to synergy of the various state security agencies.
He, however, admitted that there were still some challenges with sea piracy in the state, pledging that the police would soon deal with sea pirates terrorising the state’s waterways.
Amba said 14 of the 16 gunboats being deployed were refurbished by the Bayelsa Government, while two were procured by the Police Zonal Command.
“Gov. Seriake Dickson has directed that 14 gun boats be repaired for the operation and two donated by the Police high command.
“The 6,000 personnel needed are being trained,” he said.
Speaking on prison congestion and recent cell break at the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) office, Amba blamed the deplorable state of police detention facilities on the slow judicial processes for the development.
Amba said proposal for construction of a new and secured SARS’ cell and the amendment to improve the judicial process had been submitted to the relevant authorities.
“Most police cells are not in good conditions in the state. Also, the slow process of the Bayelsa judiciary is not helping matters.
“Out of all the states of the South South, Bayelsa court process is the slowest. All cases depend on Director of Public Prosecution’s clearance and when the case is cleared, it does not move forward.
” I have met with the Chief Judge of the state on the matter. I have also met with the state governor on the issue. When a police custody is congested, the inmates become agitated,” Amba said.
In his presentation, the state chairman, CLO, commended the Bayelsa Police Command for the recent successes recorded in the state.
James noted that though some personnel of the command were doing well, others had continually engaged in alleged extortion of members of the public.
He also alleged that some policemen are still demanding bribes before granting bails to suspects in the state.