… Calls for preservation of Ijaw culture
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has again stressed the urgent need to allow the establishment of functional state-owned Police across Nigeria.
Governor Diri, who was speaking during the gala night to wrap up the 2022 Ijaw Diaspora Convention in Newark, New Jersey in the United States of America (USA), said the operations of State Police would end the state of insecurity in the country.
In a statement by his Director, New Media, Dr. Kola Oredipe, the Governor insisted on the restructuring of Nigeria and devolution of powers to the States, and that the Federal Government should respect the true dictates of a federal system of government that is fashioned after the US democratic system where equity, fairness and justice remain the order of the day.
“The security challenges are there in Nigeria and that is why some of us are asking for restructuring of Nigeria. There has to be devolution of powers to the States. Right here in the US, I can see policemen who are not federal but under the jurisdiction of their respective States. That is the federal system. In Nigeria, why can’t we have state-owned policemen. State Police should be allowed and that will contribute to security in the country”, he said.
He stated that the current administration in Bayelsa State was investing massively in security to create enabling environment for investments to thrive.
Diri said, “We have been in the US for some days now and have met various groups and institutions for partnerships and investments in the State. Bayelsa State is so blessed in oil and gas but we are redirecting our energies to gas, renewable energy and agriculture among others. The meetings have been very encouraging and positive.”
“But for us, we know that security is key and that was why we established the Bayelsa State Community Safety Corps headed by a retired Brigadier-General. We are involving our youth in the security of their localities. Of course, relatively in Nigeria, Bayelsa remains one of the safest States.”
“So, we call on you our brothers and sisters in the diaspora to come and join us attract investment opportunities to your State. Research has shown that we are so blessed with arable lands and it is interesting to note that we can even plant rice three times in a year. This is big for us.”
Governor Diri seized the opportunity of the event to keep the Ijaw diaspora up to speed about developments in Bayelsa State including the ongoing construction of the three senatorial roads, the news that was received with excitement.
“Through the three senatorial roads, we are connecting many riverine communities by roads. We also want to ensure that all our Local Government headquarters hitherto not linked by road are connected. For the Sagbama-Ekeremor road in Bayelsa West, we are working to ensure its completion and commissioning during the 3rd anniversary of our government.”
“In Bayelsa Central, the Yenagoa-Oporoma road is progressing with the bridge to connect Angiama community to Oporoma, the Southern Ijaw Local Government headquarters awarded. Just about two weeks ago, the last one in the East, Nembe-Brass road was flagged-off after decades that the road had been on the drawing board”, the Governor said.
He urged the Ijaws in diaspora to ensure they work closely with the national executive of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and add their voices to trending national debates and promotion of the culture of the fourth largest ethnic group in the country.
“For a long while the Ijaw voice was silent in the country until we were able to put the INC together. I am happy that they have now been adding their voice to national issues and debates on how best we can live together as Nigerians where no one is shortchanged. We strive for equity, fairness and justice. So, you must continue to support the INC and strengthen their efforts back home.
“My physical presence here should tell you the importance I attach to the cause of the Ijaw nation. I am equally happy with what this group is doing, bringing all Ijaws in diaspora together. Consciously, we must continue to preserve and promote the Ijaw culture and tradition wherever we find ourselves. That applies to all of you abroad.”
” We must transfer the strong values in the culture and tradition to our children. A man who has no culture is lost. The beginning of a man’s culture is language and then his dressing. So, I count on you to ensure the sustenance of the rich Ijaw culture,” he stressed.
In an address, the Chairman of the occasion and member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, Dr. Fred Agbedi, stressed the need for the Ijaw people to continue to unite and urged those in the diaspora to always contribute to the development of their state back home.
The President of Ijaw Diaspora Council, Professor Mondy Gold, expressed the appreciation of the Council to the Governor and other top Ijaw leaders for their attendance and participation, saying that the forum has formed a strong network across the globe to stand firmly together for the progress of the Ijaw nation.
On the occasion, the Ijaw Diaspora Council honoured Governor Diri for his passion for the development and unity of the Ijaw Nation as well as post-humously honoured notable Ijaw leaders including Chief J. M. James Moru Egbuson, Chief Lawrence Reigbudu Nabena, King S.P.U. Ogan, Sen. Amaitari Zuofa, Chief Nicholas Abo Frank-Opigo, and Dr. Taribo James Sekibo, MFR.
Other dignitaries at the colourful event laced with rich cultural displays are HRM King Alfred Diete-Spiff and his wife, Josephine, (Prof.) Hon. Steve Azaiki, Ambassador Tijjani Mohammed-Bande, Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to UN, Ambassador Ben Okoyen, Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, Ambassador Lot Egopija, Consul-General, Nigerian Consulate in New York, Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (Rtd.), Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Denzel Kentebe, former Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), and Ijaw rights activist, Ann-Kio Briggs.