The Bayelsa State Government, on Friday, took steps to resolve the crisis that engulfed Amassoma community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state.
The State Governor, Seriake Dickson, who held meetings with various stakeholders including the leadership of the community and the Governing Council of the Niger Delta University (NDU), expressed regrets over the incident and assured that the government would pick the bills of the injured and the burial expenses of the victims.
He said a delegation would also be sent to commiserate with the bereaved families while those detained by the police would be released.
The governor stressed that efforts were on to ensure the reopening of NDU to resume academic activities as soon as possible.
He called on the people of the state to be wary of those he described as failed political leaders and desperate aspirants bent on fomenting crisis to destabilise the state.
A press release by the Special Adviser on Public Affairs, Daniel Alabrah, said Governor Dickson, who was accompanied to the meeting with the Amassoma community by former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, at the DSP Alamieyeseigha Banquet Hall in Yenagoa, described the incident as “unfortunate, sad and avoidable and urged the people not to take the laws into their hands”.
He said the government would set up two separate committees to examine the immediate and remote causes of the disturbances as well as promote genuine reconciliation, peace and unity in Amassoma.
While noting that his administration had made unparalleled investments in the university, he decried the attitude of politicians “who capitalised on the institution as a vulnerable avenue to instigate crisis to blackmail the government”.
Governor Dickson urged Bayelsans to always guard against misinformation and propaganda peddled by such politicians whom he noted were envious of the “present administration’s track record of achievements in the last six years”.
He maintained that Amassoma occupies a special place in his heart, which informed his administration’s decision not only to invest in the development of NDU but also siting of its single biggest investment, which is the N80 billion Bayelsa international airport project in the community.
“The NDU remains a state-owned university, completely funded by the government of Bayelsa State. And that is an institution where all Bayelsans have an equal stake.
“With the investments we have made and continue to make, it is very clear that our plans for the NDU are good apart from the administration that took the step to set up the institution. We must commend them for their vision and foresight. There is no other government in Bayelsa State that has put in more resources, time and energy towards building a sustainable NDU than this government.
“So, I call on people to ignore the propaganda by failed political leaders in this state and desperate politicians who have nothing to show for their ambitions and for their plans; those who want to install their cronies.”
In his remarks, Mr Ibori expressed support to the reform agenda of the state governor and urged the people, especially Amassoma community, to rally round the government to attract more development.
In his presentation, the representative of the youth leadership of Amassoma, Simeon Ayogoi, condemned the action of the youth who attacked the police operatives drafted to maintain law and order in the community.
He also took a swipe at the police for firing live bullets, describing the conduct as most unprofessional.
The meeting, which observed a minute silence in honour of those who lost their lives in the crisis, had in attendance the Deputy Governor, Gboribiogha Jonah; Speaker of the House of Assembly, Konbowei Benson; Head of Service, Thomas Zidafamor; chairman of the state Traditional Rulers Council, Alfred Diete Spiff.
The Ebenanaowei of Ogboin Kingdom, Oweipa Jones Ere, Amananaowei of Amassoma community, Graham Naingba and others represented the community.
Earlier, the governor met with the NDU management team, including the Pro-Chancellor, Steve Azaiki, and the Vice Chancellor, Samuel Edoumiekumo at the Government House, Yenagoa.