The Federal Government on Wednesday said that henceforth it would not embark on projects in communities that vandalise developmental projects sited in their places.
President Muhammadu Buhari, said this when he inaugurated and handed over a shoreline protection and land reclamation project in Ekeremo Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
Buhari said that the project was built by the ecological funds office of the Federal Government for the Aleibiri community in the local government.
The president, who was represented by Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that such acts of vandalism were inimical to growth and development of rural communities.
He spoke against the backdrop of the recent looting of a skills acquisition centre by members of the community at Kaima in Kolokumo/Opokuma Local Government Area, prior to its inauguration.
“Henceforth, communities will not benefit from new projects from the Federal Government if they continue to vandalise or fail to take proper care of projects sited in their communities.
“But, communities that protect and take ownership of Federal Government projects sited in their communities will continue to attract more government attention in development projects allocation,’’ he said.
Buhari expressed concerns that in the past when projects are completed and commissioned, after a few months, such projects were usually vandalised by the same people whom the projects were to benefit.
“I have advised the beneficiaries of the projects we have commissioned today to own these projects, take these projects as their own.
“And if we hear that these projects are being vandalised, government will be very hesitant to provide more infrastructure for them again,’’ he said.
The President described coastal erosion as a major challenge affecting all the communities in the state.
He appealed to other coastal erosion-prone areas in Bayelsa to be patient as the government could not do all of the projects at the same time due to limited resources.
The President assured of his determination and commitment to the development of the entire country, no matter how remote the areas might be.
He explained that the Aleibiri shoreline project was one out of the 16 ecological intervention projects he approved in 2017 for communities facing erosion and environmental degradation challenges.
Buhari expressed optimism that the intervention project would bring huge relief to the Aleibiri community.
He noted that the laudable project would set the stage for more remedial measures expected to stabilise the socio-economic well-being of the people.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, commended the cordial relationship that existed between the contractor and the people which made it possible for the project to be completed on time.
Mustapha was represented by Yusuf Adi, Director, Coastal Management, Ecological Funds Office.
Also Chief Michael Dimi, a community leader in the area, who spoke on behalf of the benefiting community, lauded the Federal Government and assured that future projects would be secured and supported by the people.