The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Bayelsa State Governor on Tourism, Mr. Piriye Kiyaramo has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to create a tourist police unit, adding that the special squad will should be able to respond to the needs and concerns of visitors and tourists alike.
Mr. Kiyaramo said the safety and security of tourists should be given due attention any destination that is striving to increase its popularity among visitors, informing that more and more countries have continued to introduce tourist police units to help and protect their tourists.
Speaking at the presentation of humanitarian service award to former police orderly to the immediate past governor of Bayelsa State, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Ebipamowei Okoyen, Psc, by the League of Character Clubs, International in Yenagoa recently, Mr. Kiyaramo maintained that the police force has continued to remain an important part of any destination image building process and that the establishment of tourist police detachment will help to enhance the image of our tourist destinations.
While commending the Bayelsa State Governor, Sen. Douye Diri for recruiting about 600 youths from different local government areas into the state-owned Community Safety Corps, for deployment in communities across the state, he recalled that in 1975, the Dominican Republic police instituted a special tourist unit, to patrol and provide security at airports and other tourist spots throughout the nation.
He noted that in many parts of the world, the police have formed special units to work with tourism practitioners to enhance police department’s performance more than, just being mere law enforcement agency, but also function as an integral part of the tourism industry in those nations.
Also speaking, Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council, Comrade Samuel Numenengi, described ACP Ebipamowei Okoyen, Psc, as a well trained senior police officer, adding that his good conduct has been very outstanding and exemplary, laced with his simplicity and smart dressing, which stands him out among other police officers.
Comrade Numenengi said ACP Okoyen, while serving under the immediate Governor of Bayelsa State, Sen. Seriake Dickson, was so dedicated to his job, noting that: “He is one police officer that has continued to make the Ijaw nation proud in the way and manner he discharges his police duties in line with the rules of engagement.
President General of the League Character Clubs International, High Chief Christian Kokoriko,
who also doubles as Nigerian representative of the International Age of Character Clubs, United States of America (USA), while presenting the humanitarian service award to ACP Ebipamowei Okoyen, extolled his sterling leadership qualities, saying that the award was based on his selfless service to the society in the areas of sports development, promotion, peacebuilding, philanthropic and exemplary gesture.
While expressing his appreciation to the League of Character Clubs International for the honour done him, ACP Okoyan averred that he will continue to render selfless service to humanity, knowing that all humans were created equal, hence he would not look down or under rate a fellow human being as a senior police officer.
He said: “As members of the community, we (police officers) see ourselves as part and parcel of the community. It is even the emphasis of the Nigeria Police Force to embark on community-police-partnerships to build confidence in the people of the community. So it has been part of me to always conduct myself as civil as possible among the people”.
“Even the military embarks on similar programmes and exercises to gain the trust of the people during their operations. For instance, during the “operation crocodile smile”, the Nigerian Army was seen doing eye test, environmental sanitation and so on, to make the people gain their trust.
“The major emphasis of the Nigerian Police Force for long has been on community policing strategies. So it is something I am used to. For instance, I hosted a football competition in my community, Peretorugbene in 2019 to support the DPO in Peretorugbene in bringing warring factions together through sports.
“While I was the 2/ic, Squadron Commander, Mopol 56, Ogoni in Rivers State, I registered my men in the community’s yearly football competition and won the trophy in Dec. 2011. Even during my stay in Government House Yenagoa, I combined my police duties with serving the people, so I became so accessible to the people and became their problem solver.
“I also ensured that youths were gainfully employed from various communities. As DPO, C Division Uyo, they called me Obong Emem, Aka Etiran (King of peace). This was because I worked with both the chiefs and the youth leaders as well as the community vigilante in course of discharging my police duties. This is what I enjoy doing everywhere I go. So as far as I know, tourism is part of us.
ACP Okoyen, who holds B.Ed. in Mathematics, Post Graduate Diploma in Sociology and M.Sc in Criminology and Security Studies maintained that the police force is so concerned about police-community-relations as part of efforts to identify criminals, with a view to nipping crimes on the bud which efforts he noted, were also geared towards protecting bith citizens and visitors inclusive.
He was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Ejiro Josephine Okoyen, an Assistant Registrar at the Federal University Otuoke, his former colleagues from Police Zone 16 headquarters, Yenagoa, among family members.