Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on Wednesday, inaugurated two projects executed by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) and funded by the German government.
The projects executed in Otuan community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area are a police post and a youth development centre.
The projects also include provision of acassava processing equipment.
Governor Diri, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, commended the German government and the UNODC for partnering with his administration on crime prevention and promoting community development.
He said the projects executed in the community indicated that the collaboration between the state government and international development partners had yielded positive results.
The governor expressed appreciation to international development partners for working with the state government, stressing that the best way to control crime was prevention.
“I have engaged with various embassies in Nigeria. I have engaged with the United Nations and the European Union in Nigeria. Now part of the efforts that we have made and yielded fruits is what you have witnessed today.
“Thank you for working with the Bayelsa State Government and for listening over the years that the best way to control crime is to prevent crime. And that is what you have done. We believe that this relationship will continue to flourish.
“We are the first state to establish an agency for crime prevention and crime control headed by Mrs Faith Zibbs-Godwin. Members of this agency have been working very hard with the UNODC, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, (NDLEA) and other agencies to reduce crime and drug abuse.”
Responding to the community’s requests, Senator Diri directed the Commissioner for Education to ensure the immediate renovation of the dilapidated primary school as well as supply more chairs to the school.
He also approved the expansion of the garri processing centre, construction of internal roads and installation of more solar lights in the community.
Diri equally directed Coordinator of the Bayelsa State Community Safety Corps to identify the Otuan vigilante personnel that are qualified to be incorporated into the Corps to enhance security in the community and environs.
In her remarks, the German Ambassador to Nigeria, Annett Gunther, said there was need to bring communities together and fashion out strategies to combat crime.
According to her, “the aim is to increase the quality of relationship between communities and security forces as the best way to fight crime was its prevention.”
Gunther noted that the youth centre would engage young people in sports and skills acquisition in order to prevent them from substance abuse and crime.
Also, the UNODC country representative, Dr. Oliver Stolpe, said the projects were designed to empower people in the communities by changing their mindsets as well as assisting them in addressing security challenges.
He equally urged the state government to engage UNODC, Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) and other international development partners to ensure sustainable development plans for the state.
Speaking at the event, the Bayelsa Commissioner for Police, Mr Rumokere Ibani, solicited the cooperation of communities in the fight against sea piracy, kidnapping and other crimes.
Presenting an address on behalf of the community, Chief Victor Perebi Bob, said the projects and programmes instituted by the German government and UNODC would have far-reaching impact on the Otuan people and neighborhing communities.
According to him, Otuan, which is one of the three pilot communities, was without a functional police post for over a decade until UNODC provided one.
He expressed gratitude to the German Government for the gesture and listed hair-styling, detergent making, bead making and sporting activities as areas where youths will receive training.
Dignitaries at the event included the deputy governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Secretary to the State Government, Alabo Gideon Ekeuwei, Acting Chief of Staff, Dr Peter Akpe, Principal Secretary, Mr. Irorodamie Komonibo, State Chairman, Peoples Democratic Party, Mr Solomon Agwana, Executive Chairman, State Internal Revenue Board, Dr Nimbofa Ayaowei, among other top government officials.