The Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has condemned the attack on the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, by youths of the kingdom.
King Diete-Spiff was the first Military Governor of the old Rivers State and current chairman of the state Traditional Rulers Council.
Governor Diri expressed his displeasure on Monday, May 24, at a meeting with leaders of Twon-Brass in Brass Local Government Area to resolve misunderstandings in the area.
In a press statement issued by his Spokesman, Mr Daniel Alabrah, the governor, while acknowledging the right of people to embark on peaceful protests, frowned at the recourse to the misguided attack on the monarch.
He warned the youths to shun violence, adding that government would not condone further attack on the revered king under any pretext.
Governor Diri also urged Bayelsans to explore alternative means of resolving grievances instead of the penchant to embark on protest at the slightest disagreement.
His words: “Let this be a warning to those who perpetrated that act. We are happy with the relative peace in Bayelsa and would like to maintain and sustain it.
“There are other avenues to explore. We have the local government chairman there. If all avenues fail, protest should come as the last resort. Let us not wake up every minute to protest. I however applaud your peaceful disposition with the Nigerian Agip Oil Company over the years”.
Describing Twon-Brass, host to Agip and Shell, as important and strategic to the state and Nigeria in general, Diri stated that all avenues would be explored to resolve the contentious issues and prevent a breakdown of law and order.
According to him, government was aware of the divide and rule tactics employed by companies in host communities, and condemned the act of compromise by community leaders that shortchange their people for selfish interests.
He said that as one of the safest states in Nigeria, Bayelsa residents should work with government to maintain the prevailing peace, adding that as the only homogeneous Ijaw state, the people should live in unity.
Diri further disclosed that to forestall conflicts in communities, arising from Global Memoranda of Understanding (GMoUs), government had made it compulsory that it would be part of the signing of GMoUs with companies.
He added: “Part of what we have done the moment we assumed office was to enforce a new system of signing GMoUs between community and all other companies, including oil companies operating in our state.
“To this end, I have instructed that all GMoUs that are to be signed would be witnessed by the state government through the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s office. No GMoU should be kept secret because we have seen that as a point of conflict between communities and companies operating in the state”.
He disclosed that the government was working on a Community Administration Bill that would ensure harmonious co-existence in communities.
In his response, King Diette-Spiff stated that power supply, which led to the protest, had been restored last Thursday, adding that the blockade had also been dismantled by the protesters.
The monarch also noted that the protest must have been hijacked by youths who were not from his domain as he earlier had a peaceful and meaningful interface with the protesters, who had invited him to maintain peace in the kingdom.