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Stakeholders lament rising piracy, kidnapping on Bayelsa waterways

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Sets to set up security network
Stakeholders from Nembe and Brass council areas of Bayelsa State have bemoaned the incessant sea piracy and kidnapping on their waterways.

Speaking at a media briefing in Yenagoa, yesterday, they lamented that pirates and kidnappers had abducted no fewer than 13 residents in the last two months, saying most of the abducted persons were still being held hostage.

During a meeting presided over by former Deputy Speaker, Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Chief Victor Sam-Ateke, they said the heightened attack and kidnapping in the past few weeks indicated a new trend in abductions.

Sam-Ateke, who read the communiqué drafted by the Prof. Kingsley Alagoa-led Committee, said the people of Brass and Nembe had agreed to eliminate piracy and kidnaping from their territory.

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He said the stakeholders had resolved to set up a Nembe Security Network (NSN) to assist security agencies in gathering intelligence, patrolling, securing the waterways and arresting identified pirates and kidnappers to the appropriate security agencies for prosecution.

He also said an advocacy and sensitisation committee would be set up to visit community leaders and engage them with a view to finding the pirates and kidnappers, stressing that the committee would engage government and security agencies to tame the menace in the state.

“We warn the pirates and kidnappers to keep-off Nembe and Brass councils waterways or face the wrath of the law and the ‘gods of our land.’ We also demand immediate and unconditional release of the hostages in their custody.

“We, however, appeal to Governor Douye Diri to assist in the rescue of abducted Nembe and Brass people. We also urge the Commander, Operation Delta Safe, Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, State Director, Department of State Services (DSS), Commissioner of Police and other security agencies to support efforts aimed at bringing peace and security to the state,” he stated.

Sam-Ateke, added that the stakeholders appealed to good-spirited individuals from Nembe and Brass, International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other Nigerians to support the efforts aimed at enthroning safety on the waterways.

He said although the motives of the pirates and kidnappers were yet unknown, their activities pointed towards economic sabotage, particularly on the people of Nembe and Brass councils.

He pointed out that their activities involved ambushing speedboats conveying travelers to Akassa, Nembe, Twon Brass, Okpoama, Odioama, Fantuo, Egwema, Nembe Creek, Okoroma, Oluasiri, Sangana, Opu-Okumbiri and Oginibiri, among others.

“When these boats are ambushed, either the outboard engine is carted away, goods taken away and in most cases, passengers kidnapped. In some cases, the abducted women were repeatedly raped.

“As we speak, five persons are in the kidnappers den. Eight were released last week making 13 persons kidnapped from January 1, 2021 to date,” he added.

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