Koluama (Bayelsa) – The Joint Task Force (JTF) has inaugurated a water scheme for Koluama Community and renovated Primary School building in Igbomotoru both in the Southern Ijaw Area Council of Bayelsa.
Maj-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, Commander of the JTF in the Niger Delta, on Friday said the projects were part of the quick impact of the government.
Atewe said the projects were meant to appeal to the conscience of the people to shun oil theft and criminality.
He said that the JTF under his command was adopting a ‘carrot and stick’ approach in its fight against oil theft and associated crimes in the Niger Delta region.
Atewe said the approach was successful, adding that it had reduced oil theft and led to the arrest of a vessel laden with 150,000 tonnes of stolen crude in the area.
According to him, the communities in Southern Ijaw provided timely information that led to the seizure of the vessel by operatives of the JTF in June.
“The project is our modest way of showing appreciation toward the peaceful disposition of Koluama people.
“What brought us together is the protest by the youths who boarded Chevron platform over grievances.
“We stepped into the matter to mediate and found the people to be peace loving and very cooperative.
“We remain optimistic that all the issues will be resolved amicably in no distant time,” Atewe said.
The Commissioner for Special Duties in Bayelsa, Alamene Williams, who inaugurated the projects, applauded the JTF for the scheme, he said, would transform the perception of the people.
“Our people used to be scared of the military but the present leadership of JTF has been very civil and friendly with the people.
“This is a fall out of our deepening democracy to see the military coming in to assist the communities.
“The approach has built confidence of the people and they have volunteered to assist the JTF in stamping out oil theft,” Williams said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that rainstorm had blown off the roof of Baptist Day Primary School Igbomatoru 11 years ago and exposed the pupils and teachers to untold hardship.
NAN further reports that the JTF equally provided desks and seats to accommodate 400 pupils in the school.
Responding, Mr Godspower Okosufa, the Chairman of Community Development Committee in Igbomotoru, reiterated the community’s commitment to shun oil theft and support the fight against it.
Okosufa commended the JTF for its assistance in donating football kits, fishing nets to women, sewing machines and facilitating the formation of two football teams in the area.
He said since the JTF initiated the water scheme in the community last year, the health and wellbeing of the residents had improved considerably. (NAN)