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Bonny indigenes protest incessant piracy on PH-Bonny sea route

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By Amaechi Okonkwo, Port Harcourt

Indigenes of Bonny Island are set to lockdown the island as they gather at the Coal Beach to protest the incessant pirate attacks on travellers on the Bonny/Port Harcourt sea route. The travellers are said to always be robbed, maimed, kidnapped and, even, killed by daredevil pirates.

The protest, tagged #EndSeaPiracy, was planned by the organisers to take off from the Coal Beach, through the streets up to the secretariat of the Bonny local government council where they would present a five-point demand to the Amanyanabo of Bonny Kingdom, Edward William Dappa Pepple III, Perekule XI, as well as the chairman of Bonny local government area, David Irimagha.

Their demands include the setting up and maintenance of security house boats and gunboats with an ambulance at strategic points on the Port Harcourt/Bonny sea route, attention of the federal government, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Rivers state government on the Bonny Ring Road project to aid security in the island villages in Bonny. They also called for a community surveillance team for the sea routes to ensure boats and all travelling facilities or equipment (life jackets, engines, etc.) are always in good condition for operations.

Others are the public profiling of all boat drivers and owners, including those plying the village routes and creating a compensation fund for victims of sea piracy.

Some residents, who spoke on the protest said it had become necessary given the incidence of attacks of travellers on the route, noting that the most recent was the attack on travellers going from Dema Abbey to Bonny town on Tuesday, January 5, 2021.

It would be recalled that marauding sea pirates attacked two boats, penultimate Tuesday night, killing two persons, Macdonald Ibifubara Banigo and Kingsley Tamunodienye Allison after flogging them mercilessly on the head with paddles and butchering their bodies with knives and other dangerous weapons. The attackers were also reported to have ordered the rest of the travellers into the chilling water to drown.

Two days short of four months to the day, five members of the community, Thompson Allison, Sunny Hart, Daniel Hart, Theophilus Ibiama, and Dagogo Jackmay, had been kidnapped by sea pirates at a funeral at Banigo community on September 12, 2020.

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