Maritime workers, commuters cry out over rising cases of piracy

BY Samuel Oyadongha

Yenagoa—Commuters and members of the Maritime Workers Union in Bayelsa State have expressed concern over the rising cases of violent attacks and killings by suspected pirates on the waterways of Nembe and Brass areas of the state.

The boat drivers, under the aegis of Maritime Workers Union, it was learnt, have concluded plans to meet and review the situation and possibly down tools over what they described as the “poor” security situation in the area.

According to sources, residents of the coastal communities of Brass and Nembe are troubled by the upsurge in sea piracy on the waterways, a development that is already affecting the turn out of commuters, many of whom have limited their travelling home for fear of being attacked by the hoodlums.

It was learnt that due to the logistics and shortage of personnel of the marine component of the state security outfit, Doo Akpo, the sea pirates have been terrorizing innocent boat passengers.

On Friday, two persons, including an aide to the former state Commissioner for Information, Awoinigha Iyabi, lost their lives on the Ogbia-Nembe waterways when the boat in which they were travelling was attacked by suspected pirates.

A rights activist, Mr. Morris Alagoa, described the situation on the waterways as sad.
He said the insecurity on the waterways was more pronounced at the Brass, Nembe and Southern Ijaw areas of the state.

Morris said: “While we appreciate the efforts by the state and local governments, it is important for the authorities to redouble their efforts and beef up security in those areas. Funds should be mobilised to take care of equipment and men to curb the menace of sea piracy.

“Communities habouring these criminals should be identified and turned over to the police. Joint Task Force, JTF and Marine Police check points should be beefed up. Those arrested should be prosecuted.

“The action of these criminals is creating a sense of insecurity as tourism can never thrive in such environment. Again, a greater part of Bayelsa is riverine and foreign investments can never be encouraged in the midst of killings and insecurity.”


Original Article