The Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo-led Isoni-Azama Peace Committee has indicated its readiness to visit areas in dispute between the two communities.

Bayelsa State Government has restated its commitment to supporting the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the fight against crime and criminality in the state.

The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, gave the assurance at the weekend while speaking as Special Guest of Honour at a send-forth party organised in honour of the outgoing Commander of the 16 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig. Gen Ephraim Essien, in Yenagoa.

The Deputy Governor, in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Doubara Atasi, described Brigadier General Essien as a thoroughbred professional whose services contributed to the successful swearing in and take-off of the present administration.

He noted that the outgoing Army senior officer assumed leadership of the 16 Brigade at a time the state was experiencing remarkable turbulence following the Supreme Court judgement on the 2019 governorship elections.

According to him, the Brigade working in concert with other security services helped to calm the turbulence at the time as well as prevented the #EndSARS protest from wreaking havoc in the state.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo assured that the current administration would remain grateful and do everything within its reach in terms of supporting security agencies to perform their duties.

While thanking the celebrant for his meritorious services to the Nigerian Army and the state, the Deputy Governor wished Brigadier General Essien greater success in his new posting.

He also used the opportunity to welcome the incoming Commander, Brig. Gen. Olurotimi Awolo, to the state and urged him to consolidate on the achievements of his predecessor.

His words, “We believe the tenure of Brigadier General E.T. Essien was quite remarkable. He came at a time when there was a lot of turbulence in this state. We all know what happened when the Supreme Court favoured the PDP and its Governorship Candidate.

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“But the collective effort of the security agencies was able to calm that challenging situation for us to be sworn in. So, we can’t forget that in a hurry.

“Even after our swearing in, you and your men were able to contain a few skirmishes that tried to rear up their ugly heads in this state. So, I want to thank you for your show of professionalism and competence.”

In his remarks, the Chief of Staff, 16 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Yenagoa, Colonel Sani Usman, pointed out that Brig-General Essien assumed office as the fourth Commander of the Brigade on 8th January 2020.

Colonel Usman said the outgoing Commander made remarkable impact in the areas of personnel training, operations and infrastructural development in Camp Tukur Buratai Barracks.

He highlighted some of the achievements to include strengthening of humanitarian services within the Brigade’s Area of Responsibility (AOR) and facilitating the ongoing phased construction of perimeter fence at Camp Buratai in Yenagoa.

In their separate goodwill messages, the Paramount Ruler of Elebele Community, Chief Osene David Osene, and the Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Kennedy Egbuchulam, represented by Commodore J.E. Ake, extolled the leadership qualities of Brigadier-General Essien

Responding, the outgoing Brigade Commander, Brig-Gen Ephraim Essien attributed the achievements recorded during his one-year four-month tenure to what he described as unquantifiable support from the state government, and other securty services.

Essien, who is expected to assume office at the Army Resource Centre, Abuja, also acknowledged the support of men and officers of the 16 Brigade, urging them to extend same to his successor, Brig. Gen. Olurotimi Awolo.

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