The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide 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.
The President of IYC, Peter Timothy Igbifa in a press statement in Port Harcourt made available to newsmen said the issues of insecurity in the waterways calls for concerted effort by the state, local governments as well as security agencies to ensure that travellers are safe.
Igbifa therefore urged the military and the marine police to step up patrol along the waterways by identifying red zones set up checkpoints to checkmate the activities of these criminals.
He said: ” 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.
” Just recently Two passengers were reported dead and many others missing after pirates seized two commercial boats around Dema Abbey Community on Bonny waterways. This 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.
” 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.
” 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 IYC President noted that his leadership would not fold its hands and watch our people suffer helplessly in the hands of daredevil criminals, stressing that there are plans in place working with the leaders of IYC Eastern Zone to activate a robust security plan and strategy to assist the government in tackling this menace.
Igbifa therefore warned youths to desist from crime and embrace legitimate means of livelihood, saying that the wanton, senseless and heartless attacks on our innocent mothers, fathers and daughters working hard to eke out a living must stop.