By Ebi Perekeme
The Bayelsa State Government has raised the alarm over increasing espionage activities in most communities in the state.
It also said unconfirmed security reports indicated that there was a mass build up of arms in various forests by people with sinister plans, who come into the state under the pretext of carrying out fishing, farming and other activities.
The state Deputy Governor, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, stated these during a meeting with chairmen of local government council areas, first class traditional rulers and top security officers at the Government House, Yenagoa, on Saturday.
Ewhrudjakpo described the security reports as “worrisome intelligence at the state government’s disposal” in a statement on Sunday by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr Doubara Atasi.
He stressed the need for the people of the state, particularly the traditional rulers and youths, to be vigilant and strengthen community policing across the state.
He urged traditional rulers and security agencies to complement the government’s efforts in implementing the state anti-grazing law in order to forestall herders-farmers’ clashes.
Ewhrudjakpo explained that the anti-grazing law was not made to witch hunt anyone, but was rather a proactive measure to avoid banditry and other security challenges facing most states in the country.
According to him, the meeting was convened to discuss strategies to enable community leaders monitor the movement and activities of strangers in the various communities in accordance with existing laws.
The deputy governor said, “I can tell you substantially that most of our communities are undergoing espionage. We have some intelligence, though not yet confirmed, that there is a mass build up of arms in our various forests, which we are not knowledgeable of.
“I can assure you that some of these people, who come into our communities in the name of fishing and farming, know our forests more than us and they are just waiting for the time to strike. That’s how it started in the South-West and other places in this country.
“It is already here with us. So, we should stop playing the ostrich by trying to cover the smoke with a basket. It is better to open up the smoke and deal with it.
Therefore, all hands must be on the deck to nip the herders/farmers’ problem in the bud.”
Ewhrudjakpo added that there would be a way of profiling persons, who were not indigenes of Bayelsa communities with special attention on where such persons were from, the period of their stay and what they would be doing during their period of stay.