…Seeks formation of vigilante for N-Delta waterways
By Davies Iheamnachor, Port-Harcourt
The Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, Worldwide has expressed regrets over the killing of two travelers on waterways and repeated attacks by sea pirates in Rivers State.
It would be recalled that recently two passengers were reported killed and many others missing after sea pirates seized two commercial boats around Dema Abbey Community on Bonny waterways.
However, in a statement in Port Harcourt yesterday, the President of IYC, Peter Timothy Igbifa, described the development as barbaric, regretting that waterways in the state have become death routes.
He said: “IYC has 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.
“These traveling routes have become death traps because these daredevil marauding beasts have converted them to their conquered territories operating at will without fear of any security interventions.
“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.”
Igbifa said there was an urgent need to sanitise the waterways and dismantle the camps of those criminals, urging the police to indentify the camps of the pirates and take war to them.
He called on government to be proactive to tackel the issue of the repeated pirates attacks, adding that the council has concluded plans to for a security formation on waterways.
He said: “We are calling on the state and local government to collaborate with security agencies to ensure the safety of our people.
“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 travelers.
“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.”