Bayelsa: Dickson Renews Battle against Piracy, Crude Oil Theft

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The past year, 2014, is considered one of the most challenging year for Bayelsa State in the battle against violent crimes along the waterways and creeks of the state. At the last count, the activities of sea pirates, pipeline vandals and crude oil thieves ranked among the major factors that have reduced the revenue of the state due to reduced oil exploration and production, water transportation and security along the water ways.

Unlike the past security policies, the administration of Governor Seriake Dickson has kicked off a series of policies to stem the tide of sea piracy, crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism through the establishment of a security outfit known as Izon Ibie and to be headed by an experienced and United Nations recognised Peace Ambassador, Chief James Jephthath.

According to the governor, “The situation in our waterways has always presented a challenge. This is because of the difficult terrain and the challenge of funding. Security is very expensive. It is a disturbing trend but now in areas like Nembe, the incidence of sea piracy has reduced somewhat except for Brass, Akassa and parts of Southern Ijaw local government, which have always been areas of concern. If it hadn’t been the dwindling finances, we would have provided more support in terms of more platforms to security agencies. We had earlier provided 25 patrol gunboats to support their efforts.”

Governor Dickson, while explaining the concept behind the establishment of the Izon Ibie security company, said in 2015, the state will step up in terms of engagement of the people. “I talked about the Agricultural Engagement Scheme that will come on stream very soon. In addition to that we have the Bayelsa Volunteer Scheme that will take a number of our people. We now have this idea we have developed which is the incorporation of a security company. This will be like any other security company with the necessary approvals and so forth.

“This company is wholly owned by the state government and the idea is to enable this company employ a lot of Bayelsans; work with the relevant authorities and give them some basic enlightenment about what their jobs entail and then deploy them to secure pipeline facilities and government projects for a fee.

“I have appointed someone who I think has the capacity to do these types of things and a board that I will inaugurate in January 2015. Already, the understanding is that most of the oil companies will give their consultancies and surveillance jobs to that company. So that company apart from providing jobs will earn money. I want that company to be self-sustaining and employ as many as 20,000 young people and deploy them to the communities. Through these consultancies with international oil companies and other partners, raise enough money to pay them without increasing government recurrent budget particularly at this time of dwindling oil revenues.”

In the new security policy against crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism along its creeks and waterways, the state government through the establishment of the security company known as Izon Ibie will promote a more secured pipeline and oil installations in the state. In line with the new policy by the state government, the newly established security company known as Izon Ibie Security Company is expected to promote community and private company participation in the policing of oil pipelines and installations in the state.

The company, according to the state government, was set up by the present administration of Governor Seriake Dickson, with the statutory responsibility to provide strategy for the immediate stoppage of oil theft and pipeline vandalism which has contributed in depleting the state’s resources and carry out surveillance duties on critical assets and infrastructure of multinationals, government and other viable business concerns.

The management of the company, in a statement signed by its managing director, Chief James Jephthah announced that the company has invited all multinational companies and others doing business in and around the state to register with the company and effectively terminate any existing security contracts. Multinational oil companies are particularly requested to immediately terminate all existing pipeline surveillance contracts with individuals, private companies and organisations.

According to the statement, “The management warn that the Bayelsa State government shall not entertain any security complain from companies, organisations and other business concern that fail to take advantage of this new government and private initiative and shall be doing business at their own risk.

“Nonetheless, the management has also invited all pipeline surveillance contractors and other security contractors that have running contracts with the multinational companies and other business concern to report to the office with the photocopies of their existing contracts to be part of these great initiatives.”

The management of the company has also announced the recruitment of indigent Bayelsans as security officers that will participate in the needed policing of pipelines and oil installations in the region.

Source: Leadership 4th January 2015

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