Bayelsa monarch seeks help over sea piracy
THE Amanayabo of Okpoama Kingdom in Brass Local Council of Bayelsa State, King Ebitimi Banigo has expressed concern over the rising cases of attacks and killings on the waterways and creeks of Brass and Nembe kingdoms by pirates.
The monarch, a former Minister of Science and Technology, while decrying the menace that claimed the Chairman of the kingdom’s Council of Chiefs, Chief Benson Adigio-Eseni, likened the development to the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the North East.
Banigo, who spoke at Okpo during a unity rally and reception in honour of a former governor and an All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in the state, Chief Timipre Sylva, said the death toll of travellers by water was becoming worrisome and deserving of attention by relevant authorities.
The traditional ruler recalled that the late chief, an uncle of Sylva, was killed in a similar attack along the Ogbia-Nembe-Brass creek last year.
Also, four soldiers and a mobile policeman were ambushed at a military check point on the Nembe-Brass waterway in addition to the two community chiefs, Isaac Akono-Igolo and Blessing Wagio abducted at same location when their boats were attacked and are still in captivity.
He said the community could no longer afford to be losing its people to sea piracy, stating: “ Piracy is now our Boko Haram. Piracy is a scourge. Piracy has reduced us to a level where we are now hiding in our various homes. Today is a day of celebration but even then, we must remember those who we have lost their lives. And we appeal to all operatives, the military, particularly our state governor to come to our aid so as to eradicate piracy on our waters.”
The occasion witnessed the conferment of Ajana 1 (“the leader”) on Sylva for his contribution to the growth of the community.
Two former appointees of his, Obegha Oworibo and Julie Donli described the former governor as a man of courage who is passionate about others.
Sylva, in his acceptance speech, said it was time to forgive and unite for the development of the state.
“Today is the beginning of a new beginning. It is the beginning of the unity of this kingdom. Let us all put aside all our differences and build a community that will continue to be an epitome and an example to all other communities,” the APC chieftain stated.