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Denmark Backs UNODC Community Security, Empowerment Initiative In Bayelsa

…. Launches N2.4bn Projects
…. Gov. Diri Commends Support Of European Countries

The Danish government, on Wednesday, launched a programme in support of the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) crime prevention and enhancement of community-based security projects in Bayelsa State.

The European nation has earmarked the sum of 1.19 million Danish Krone (about N2.4 billion) for community-based security and vocational skills projects.

According to a press release on Wednesday, 1st May 2024 signed by the Chief Press Secretary to the Bayelsa State Governor, Daniel Alabrah, said that the initiative, which is in furtherance of ongoing UNODC projects in the state and the Niger Delta region, will be implemented in five communities across, empowering them through joint security committees to manage their security environment proactively as well as helping to address the root causes of crime and violence.

It will also enhance collaboration between communities and law enforcement agencies building trust and fostering lasting partnerships.

The Ambassador of Denmark to Nigeria/Cameroon/Equatorial Guinea/Republic of Congo/Central African Republic/Permanent Representative to ECOWAS, Mr Sune Krogstrup, disclosed this at a joint press conference alongside Governor Douye Diri, the European Union Ambassador to the Republic of Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Samuela Isopi, the Ambassador of Finland to Nigeria, Ghana, Liberia and ECOWAS, Ms Leena Pylvänäinen, the German Deputy Consul General in Nigeria, Gerald Wolf, and the UNODC Country Representative, Dr Oliver Stolpe, in Government House, Yenagoa.

Mr. Krogstrup said the importance of Bayelsa State and the entire Niger Delta region to the economy of Nigeria cannot be over-emphasised.

He said as a seafaring nation with between 30 and 40 vessels at any point in time around the Gulf of Guinea, Denmark was concerned about the area, Bayelsa and Niger Delta.

The envoy stressed that this concern underscored the significance of the new projects and support to the Bayelsa government.

He said: “We hope that this support will enhance peace and security and sustainable development in vulnerable communities.

“Community-based crime prevention is a cornerstone of effective security strategies. We are proud to partner with the Bayelsa State government and UNODC to empower communities and promote lasting peace.”

Sune reaffirmed his government’s commitment to addressing the root causes of crime and violence at sea and on land in the Gulf of Guinea.

In his remarks, the UNODC Country Representative, Mr Oliver Stolpe, said the new projects would focus on strengthening the Niger Delta peace architecture and community-based crime prevention strategies in the state.

He noted that the key element of the project was the evaluation of the implementation of the community-based crime prevention strategies and the three action plans in the three pilot communities of Otuan, Ayamasa and Ikebiri 1 undertaken in the first phase between 2021 and 2023 with funding from the German government.

In his opening remarks, Governor Douye Diri advocated the need for stronger ties with the international community to foster peace, security, job creation and sustainable development in the state.

Senator Diri expressed appreciation to Denmark, other European nations and UNODC for their invaluable contributions to sustaining peace and security in communities, particularly for the launch of some empowerment projects last year at Otuan, Ikebiri in Southern Ijaw and Ayamasa in Ekeremor local government areas.

The governor also solicited the support of the EU and other international development partners in addressing unemployment through the development of agro-allied businesses and small and medium-scale enterprises to boost peace and security in the state.

To enhance security across communities, the state’s helmsman said the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) has to be given another look.

According to him, the implementation of the Act had generated a crisis in some communities because state governments were not involved in the legislation process.

Diri said the governors of the Niger Delta were proposing a bill to harmonise community administration for the successful implementation of the PIA.

Diri, who highlighted the efforts of his administration toward enhancing small and medium-scale enterprises in the state, said it would prioritise aquaculture development as the state had a comparative advantage in the sector.

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