Akwa Ibom fishing areas seek strengthening of security on sea
Fishing communities in Oron and Mbo local councils of Akwa Ibom State have urged the federal and state governments to beef up security on the sea to curb the increasing cases of killing and robbery by sea pirates to save their source of livelihood.
This, they said, would help to stem attacks on fishermen and boat drivers by sea pirates from Bayelsa and Cross River states.
These views were expressed yesterday by some boat owners, fishermen and crayfish traders in Oron while speaking with journalists on the incessant occurrence of this ugly incident of killings and robbery attacks on the high sea.
According to them, the security agents sent to protect their waterways could not save the situation, noting that rather than getting better, the killings and robbery attacks worsen day after day.
A boat owner, Mr. Effiong Ating, said: “The robbery attack on our fishermen and boat drivers is alarming these days. The sea pirates waylay our boat drivers on the high sea. They kill them even after collecting their boats from them.”
Also, the Village Head of Idua Assang in Oron Local Council, Chief Asuquo Offiong, said he was disturbed by the suffering of his people where many youths had been killed by sea pirates when they resort to self-help to stop the incessant attacks and killings.
“The robbery attacks on our fishermen and boat drivers on the high sea has been going on for so many years now. We have tried our best on our own since 2013 to put a stop to this menace but to no avail. Our youths tried to help as security agencies no longer come to our rescue, but the sea pirates killed many of them.
“Fishing is our main occupation and only means of survival, but my people are no longer safe as they go to the sea to fish. That is why I am appealing to both the federal and state governments to come to our aid so that our waterways can be safe again for our people to do their fishing business without fear.
President, Women Crayfish Traders, Mrs. Mmayen Ifiok, said: “We have suffered a lot in the hands of the sea pirates. We cannot even sell again because there is nothing to sell after two drivers bringing crayfish to us were killed.”
At Ibaka fishing settlement in Mbo Local Council, President of Boat Owners, Mr. Samson Oluwasegun, said: “We have serious problem here because the sea pirates do not only kill boat drivers and fishermen, they also rape our women, steal all our boats and goods.
“We work during the day and they will still cross the sea to steal from us. Even during market days, our women are scared to come out due to what is going on. We need joint task force because the situation is beyond the marine here.”
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