Douye Koroye is the ex -chairman, Bayelsa Volunteers, a state security outfit and currently a Special Assistant to Gov Seriake Dickson on youths and community development. His achievements in fighting crimes and criminalities still remain unbeatable in the state. He spoke with Joy Emmanuel.
What is your view on the spate of killings in the country?
Generally, the high level of criminality in the recent time is quite disturbing. The government is not silent but is doing its very best to combat criminal activities. As you know, we have entered the political season as well and a lot of other factors are contributing to that for now.
As an ex boss of Bayelsa Volunteer, what do you think needs to be done?
When I was the Chairman of the volunteers, about 500 cultists renounced cultism. That was a major success before my current appointment as the Senior Special Assistant on Youth and Community Development to the governor, I want to believe that my successor is doing his bit to see how things can be better than he met.
What next after they renounced?
The renouncing was done in April this year and shortly after that I was removed that same month and nothing much was done about it, but we had a lot of plans to see how we could bring out those boys and also why they should not indulge in cultism, but fortunately or unfortunately I was not able to implement it before I was removed but like I said, I hope the plan is not dropped.
What was the level of crime when you were the chairman of Bayelsa Volunteer?
One area I identified was the level of fraternity, cult groups, rivalry among the cults and fight for supremacy. That was one major area I identified and we wanted to galvanise them together and talk to them. You see, one thing you cannot take from trying to harmonise the boys is the ability to bring them together. In fact, part of the problem right now is the ability to distribute the political space alongside the various cult fraternities. This is what has hyped the problem more as of now.
There was relative calm during your time. What was the secret to your achievements?
It was very easy. Despite the fact that they were carrying arms, you can actually eat with them but you must make them to believe that they are human beings. You see, everybody has their own style and I don’t believe in dictatorship. I believe more in dialogue and therefore, engage them. The fact remains that cultism is a spiritual thing, so I had pastors and counselors who were on ground. There were some that I had to take to church in order to go through some levels of prayers, therefore it is not just about being powerful. You must have responsibility to make them better, some of them have gone very far, so it takes a lot of administration and capabilities to control them to maintain peace. Within my short period of stay, crime reduced drastically in this state.
During your time, a lot of criminal hideouts were discovered and monitored in the city. Did your successor continued from where you stopped?
Of course, the hands over documents are there. The issue there is that if you want to work, you don’t need any report to work. When I took over, I was not given any hand over note. You must have the zeal to fight crimes in order to achieve results. It is very easy to fight crime in Yenagoa because the hideouts are known. I was moving from streets to streets alongside my boys and policemen. We were entering and combing everywhere and giving awareness in line with Gov Henry Seriake Dickson’s mandate on zero tolerance for crimes and criminalities. At a time, the fear of Bayelsa volunteer became the wisdom of bad boys in the state because when they see me, they run. You don’t need to see paper to work; partner with other security agencies and engage the people you will get information. I was engaging market women and people that live in ghettos; my phone numbers were everywhere, classroom teachers were engaged in fighting crimes and I positioned my people in every area of the state and you won’t know.
Your strategies were supported by government?
Yes, government’s support must be there; without the support of government, how do you fight crime? You can never fight crime without government support because funding is very important in fighting while we doing our best.
What is your view about the recent killing of a 100 level student of Niger Delta University over a cellular phone?
It is very sad; we don’t pray it happens to anybody. It is highly condemnable in its entirety. This things can be tackled if the willingness is there. The security operatives should step up to their goals.
Nowadays, it is difficult for people to differentiate between criminals and cultists. What about that?
The two of them go together. It is difficult to differentiate them because every criminal is a cultist and every cultist is also a criminal. If you have gun in your pocket, you can over power someone and take his belongings.
Some persons in the state are calling for the disbandment of Doo akpo. What do you say?
That is a very wrong move, we are talking about fighting crimes and some persons are saying they should disband Doo akpo, do they want to aggravate, contribute and increase the level of crime in the state? You can see what they are doing now; they are everywhere. Strengthen them and they will do better.
What is your advice to people involved in crime and what do you think the state government can do?
Well, engagement! This is what the government of Gov Dickson has been doing. It is one government that has been engaging the youths more than ever before. About 65/70% of appointees of this government are all youths, apart from that, you talk about training of various skills which this government has embarked on in so many ways. Recently, you are aware that first class graduates were given automatic employments, but no matter how much you engage the youths, a bad youth remains a bad one, therefore, it is not all about government. We all have a duty, from parents, pastors, every body has a duty to play in the society. My advice is that crime has never paid in any society. you can’t make a meaningful life out of crime; there are better ways to succeed in life.