Leaders of Oweikorogha and Otuan communities in Southern-Ijaw Local Government area of Bayelsa have promised to protect rice projects in the area.
The community leaders made the promise in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Oweikorogha.
They said safety of the projects would ensure that the objectives of the project owners were realised.
The Bayelsa Branch of Rice Farmers Association of Nigeria (RIFAN) acquired 5, 000 hectares of land in each of the communities to boost rice production.
Review Dei, a Chief in Oweikorogha, said the community planned to mobilise youths in the area to secure the rice farm to ensure that the project would succeed.
“Though, we have a vigilance group already in our community, there is still the need to make further efforts to ensure that the young and the old steered clear the RIFAN project.
“In fact, locating the rice farm project in our community is a welcome development. According to RIFAN Chairman, the project is aimed at improving rice production.
“On our part, we will not relent in ensuring that the project is adequately secured for it to succeed,” he said.
Wyas Wyas, the Chairman of Community Development Committee in Oweikorogha, said his people were prepared to man the RIFAN facilities in the area.
Wyas said the community had zero tolerance for crime, stressing that that the community had sanctions for law breakers.
“Once you are arrested and it is confirmed that you are engaged in criminal activities such as stealing, the community will tie you to a post until you pay a fine of N20, 000,” Wyas said.
Suboh Okiti, the Deputy Chairman of Bush Committee in Otuan, said he was delighted that the project was located in the community.
Okiti said that security of the farm project would be a priority, adding that the committee would also ensure that the people participated in rice farming business.
The retired police officer urged the youth to shun criminality and embrace farming.
Ezekiel Ogbianko, state Chairman of RIFAN, had told NAN that the project was also aimed at empowering and encouraging youths in the area to embrace rice farming.
Ogbianko said that the project was in line with the Federal Government’s plan to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production in the country
“The association is already clearing and preparing lands in some other communities including Ofoni and Ayamasa in Sagbama Local Government areas.
“We are currently doing land preparation. I advise our people and Nigerians generally to produce and eat local rice,” he said.