Ijaw youths vow to checkmate pirate activities along Bonny waterways
By Amaechi Okonkwo, Port Harcourt
The Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, Worldwide, says it would no longer keep quiet over the incessant pirates’ along the Bonny waterway.
The body has, therefore, warned sea pirates and sundry criminal elements unleashing terror on sea route travelers to stay off the sea route as the body would begin a collaboration with state security agencies against them.
In a statement signed by Deacon Peter Timothy Igbifa, President, Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, the organisation expressed dismay at the development that had caused the loss of lives, saying the council had “watched with chagrin, the incessant killings, sea piracy, kidnappings and other criminal activities perpetrated by gunmen along the Bonny and Andoni waterways in Rivers state.”
The IYC noted that those travelling routes have become death traps because daredevil marauding beasts have converted them to their conquered territories operating at will without fear of any security interventions.
It recalled that just recently two passengers were reported dead and many others missing after pirates seized two commercial boats around Dema Abbey Community on Bonny waterways. It observed that that unfortunate development led Bonny residents to troop to the streets in protest.
“In fact, the criminal activities along these waterways are alarming, barbaric and saddening. Our people travel in fear. It has negatively impacted on economic activities especially as most people engage in buying and selling as their means of livelihood. This means that they must travel to Port Harcourt through the waterways to bring in goods to their various communities. Unfortunately, they now travel at the mercy of merciless bandits”, IYC noted.
It added; “There is an urgent need to sanitise the waterways and dismantle the camps of these criminals. We are calling on the state and local government to collaborate with security agencies to ensure the safety of our people.
On how to tackle the ugly situation, IYC said, “The military and the marine police should identify the red zones on the waterways and create checkpoints to tackle this criminality. There should also be regular and constant patrols along the affected waterways to restore the confidence of travellers.”
IYC also called on the chairmen of Andoni and Bonny local governments, respectively, to come alive to their responsibilities.
“We are calling on the chairpersons of Andoni and Bonny local government areas to be more proactive instead engaging in reactionary approaches each time these criminals attack their victims. They should explore the possibility of constituting youths into local vigilant groups and empower them to patrol the waterways.
“The council under my leadership cannot fold its hands and watch our people suffer helplessly in the hands of daredevil criminals. Therefore, we are working with the Eastern Zone to activate a robust security plan and strategy to assist the government in tackling this menace.
“We are warning youths to desist from crime and embrace legitimate means of livelihood. Enough of this senseless and heartless attacks on our innocent mothers, fathers and daughters who are working hard to make a living.