There has been a lull in Marine transportation business due to the activities and incessant attacks by sea pirates along the sea routes and creeks of Bonny, Kula in Rivers State and Brass, Nembe, Ayatoru in neighbouring Bayelsa State.
The Chairman, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Nembe waterfront unit, Comrade David Teke dropped the hint in a chat with The Tide correspondent in his office in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Teke said passengers and even the drivers of the speedboats plying these riverine communities are always scared of being attacked, as anytime these hoodlums strike, they made away with the speed boat, properties of the passengers after disembarking them at the mangrove, while some whom they perceived as known faces were shot dead or maimed.
He said the situation had been worrisome as a result of no security gun boats along these waterways.
According to him, it would have been worst if the earlier scheduled tomorrow’s election would have taken place as most of the speedboat operators were ready to decline conveying election personnel or materials to the riverine communities for fear of being attacked by the sea pirates or political thugs.
“Although, we are going to vote for the candidate of our choice on that day, but we cannot guarantee providing speedboats for electoral exercise, except adequate security arrangement was made by the authorities and our safety assured”, Teke opined.
The Nembe unit marine transport boss disclosed that in January this year, there was an attack at kilometer 60, but the smart driver was able to meander his boat into another creek where he now called for rescue team from the base here at Nembe waterfront that went and brought them to Port Harcourt.
He disclosed that as they were coming with the displaced passengers and the boat, the sea pirates attacked them again but fortunately, no life or property was lost as they could not succeed.
The Comrade however, also hinted that one of their speedboats that was snatched away by sea pirates last year was recovered at Abonnema, and the culprits nabbed but later released by the Joint Taskforce without proper investigations.
According to him, the speedboat was later brought to Nembe waterfront and the case reported to the Police in Nembe, Bayelsa State and later transferred to Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS in Rivers State for proper action.
“My plea with the government is that they should provide adequate security operatives of the Marine Police and the Navy and equip them with sophisticated weapons to face the fire power of these bad boys,” he posited.