Posted on May 08, 2018 by Ashleigh Cowie
A group of residents and officials in Akuku-Toru, Rivers state, have vowed to take justice in to their own hands and fight back against pirates if the Government doesn't do more to lower the levels of piracy in their area.
The Council of Chiefs and people of Opu-Kula have threatened to use violence against pirates along the Kula waterways.
Tolerance of the situation in the region has dropped following an attack this weekend in which 3 people were killed when pirates boarded a boat of prominent chiefs.
The incident is being described as one attack too many, with locals believing the pirates are deliberately targeting residents of Opu-Kula.
While armed boats in the area protect oil facilities and foreign visitors, the Amayanabo of Opukula, Hope Opusingi is calling for these boats to also protect the host communities and seafarers.
He believes the only other option is for the local community to build their own defence:
“We will not fold our hands and allow the killing to be swept under the carpet like other killings in the past. If all tiers of government fail to address the issue, it will leave us with the alternative means to secure ourselves.”
The community leaders are blaming the Joint Task Force (JTF), an organisation of Navy and police who have been deployed to protect the local citizens.
In the statement, Opusingi said the government's failure to act signifies their approval for the people in the area to resort to self-defence. He urged Governor Nyesom Wike to follow the example that has worked in Igba, Egbema and Ndoni:
“The governor should deploy personnel of the recently constituted Rivers State Neighbourhood Watch to the Kula waterways to work with security agencies to stem the tide of attacks.
“This was an assassination attempt on the lives of Rivers State Chairman of the Petroleum Taskforce, Kenneth Opusingi, Rivers State Chairman of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Sukubo Sara-Igbe and other prominent sons and daughters of Kula who narrowly escaped death.
“We call on the government, especially the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army to improve security on the Kula waterways in a bid to forestall further attacks and killings on the Kula waterways”.
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