YENAGOA – The Bayelsa State Governor, Honourable Seriake Dickson, has signed into law the Community Safety Corps Amendment Bill 2018 recently passed by the state House of Assembly.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Mr Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as expressing optimism that the amended law would enable security agencies and vigilance groups carry out their operations more effectively in the state.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the signing, Speaker of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Friday Konbowei Benson, described the amended law as an embodiment of all security-related laws passed by the state legislature.
Hon. Benson said the bill was given expeditious passage in line with the prevailing collaboration between the legislature and the executive in order to improve the security situation in the state.
His words: “The amendment became necessary because we have to bring in the element of vigilance groups. That is why we will not be doing vigilante law separate from the community safety corps.
“That means the new law is an embodiment of several security elements brought together to ensure that we have a very holistic and robust security outfit that will be able to take care of the security challenges in the state.”
Also speaking, the Majority Leader, Hon. Peter Akpe, explained that the assembly merged some of its earlier security legislations, including the Community Safety Corps Law, to make for easy implementation as well as give legal backing to the state-owned security outfits.
According to the majority leader, the new law would not only strengthen the existing security architecture but also enable the state government to establish what he called the Community Safety and Vigilance Corps.
“There was a metamorphosis. It started as Education Safety Corps Law, which was repealed. It became Community Safety Corps, which is now the Community Safety Corps Amendment Law 2018.
“We are interested in how the security architecture in the state could be strengthened looking at the importance of security, which we all need not to over-emphasise. We have the vigilance group and you are all aware of the good reports about it especially in recent times.
“We had the Operation Doo Akpo, a quick response squad, that was formed by the state government without a legislative backing. We also had the Education Safety Corps, which was an intendment of government to have security hovering around the existing infrastructure and personnel in education.
“All these packaged together is what we had as the Community Safety Corps Law. But the new one is an amendment to that, which encompasses all these elements.
“So with this amendment, the Operation Doo Akpo and the Bayelsa Vigilante now have legislative backing. And for purposes of records and emphasis, the new law has no relationship with the Bayelsa Volunteers because that also has its own law. So we just have two existing security-related corps to support the activities of security agencies in the state,” Akpe explained.