Nigeria: Pirates Take Over Akwa Ibom Waterways

IWUOKPOM — FOR seven months running, sea bandits have been on the prowl in the waterways of Ibeno Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, attacking fishermen, impounding their equipment, including speedboats and collecting huge ransoms for the release of the confiscated items with Police and Navy unable to come to their rescue. While the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Gabriel Achong, said there was a limit policemen could go on the high sea, a top Navy official said the personnel were not equipped to fight sea robbers.

Investigations revealed that the incessant attacks have forced many fishermen to quit fishing in the area. The embattled fishermen, who spoke to Niger Delta Voice at Iwuokpom and other affected communities, appealed to government and relevant security agencies to come to their rescue, saying the attacks have brought untold suffering on them and their families for the last eight months.

Fishermen now idle

One of them, Mr. Udeme Okon, said: “We have met with our community heads and have reported the matter to government. They said they will do something, but nothing has been done. No reply from them. “The pirates do not allow us to go into the water to fish and if you go, they will attack you and collect your engine. This has been going on since September, last year.

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