Thursday, November 5, 2015 5:56 pm
Residents of Bonny Island in Rivers State, the host community of the multi-Billion dollars Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas,NLNG, and those of Nembe and Bille who are mainly seafarers who ply the Bonny, Bille and Nembe routes have raised alarm that their lives are in danger over incessant attacks by pirates.
Also boat drivers and marine transporters who are living and doing business in Bonny Island in Rivers and Nembe in Bayelsa States are crying out to President Muhammadu Buhari and other security agencies to protect them from the danger posed by the existence of uncleared wreckages of disused boats and ships and frequent attacks by sea pirates.
At the Nembe waterfront jetty in Port Harcourt, seafarers said they hold their hearts in their mouths until they arrive their destination. The boat drivers and passengers plying Bonny, Bille and Nembe waterways stated that they have witnessed frequent attacks on the waterways within the last two weeks. Security analysts are linking the rise in tide of pirates’ attacks to the quest to garner fast cash for the fast approaching Christmas.
Regular Seafarers spoken to at the Nembe jetty, Godwin Pepple and Victory Longjohn of Bonny appealed to the authorities, especially the Marine Police, Nigerian Navy to deploy more marine boats and armed personnel to the waterways to protect their lives and properties from sea pirates.
However, the newly deployed Flag Officer Commanding Eastern naval Command, Rear Admiral Atiku Abubakar has assured that more personnel will be deployed on the waterways to curb the menace of sea pirates and oil thieves in the creeks.
Rear Admiral Abubakar who gave the assurance during his recent visit to Navy formations in Port Harcourt and environs like NNS Pathfinder and Naval training school, Onne, however called for intelligent information that may lead to the arrest of those putting lives and properties in the waterways in Rivers State in jeopardy.
Troubled by danger posed by the twin factors of Sea piracy and uncleared wreckages in the waterways, Abinye Blessing Pepple called for relevant government agencies to intervene to arrest the danger along the Bonny waterways.
Abinye Blessing Pepple, the lawmaker representing Bonny Constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly, has called for urgent intervention of government while presenting a motion on the issue on the floor of the house.
The Lawmaker appealed to the Rivers State House of Assembly to persuade the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA and concerned Agencies to remove all abandoned wreckages on the Port-Harcourt/Bonny waterways. He said the sea route will be safer if NIMASA plays its constitutional role.
He also appealed to the Commissioner of Police to deploy more marine policemen and equipment to the Port-Harcourt/Bonny waterways to check the spate of attacks by sea pirates along the waterways.
The Speaker of House of Assembly, Rt. Hon.Ikuinyi Ibani adjourned debate on the motion after the Leader of the House and other members asked for a short time to enable them study the motion for meaningful contributions.