Fishermen in Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom have decried the activities of pirates in the Atlantic Ocean that have resulted in the loss of their boats, money and fishing gadgets.
The fishermen told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibeno on Tuesday that the development had crippled their economic well-being.
According to the fishermen, the pirates attacked them boats with sophisticated weapons between 7a.m. and 8a.m. on Monday and took away their boats and other belongings.
One of the victims, Mrs Disoni Obatimihi of Nkpanang community, described the incident as “unfortunate and sad’’.
She told NAN that she lost N2.4 million and two engine boats, bought on hire purchase to the sea pirates.
Obatimihi appealed to the state government to come to their aid to ameliorate the suffering.
Another victim, Mr James Enoch, said that the pirates took his boat at gunpoint, adding that the activities of the pirates were becoming very regular.
Mr Kinsley Enikuemehin said that the attacks cause hardship to fishermen in the area.
“After the sea pirates collected my engine, money and fishing accessories, they dropped me at the high sea until I saw another boat that came to my rescue.’’
Enikuemehin appealed to the Federal Government to intervene and ensure that the marine police patrol the high sea to check the activities of pirates.
According to him, the activities of pirates may lead to scarcity of fish during the yuletide, if not checked.
In a separate interview, Mr Samuel Ayadi, the state Chairman, Artisan Fishermen Association of Nigeria, said that the activities of sea pirates constituted a major challenge to fishermen in the state.
Ayadi said that the sea pirates stole 20 units of harbour engines from fishermen on Nov. 17 at the high sea.
He said that sea pirates were now operating on the Atlantic Ocean almost every day.
According to him, along the Ikot Abasi axis, the pirates took away seven engine boats, fish and money belonging to fishermen on Saturday, Nov. 5.
He said that more than 50 outboard engines boats had been stolen from fishermen by sea pirates in the past one month.
Ayadi said that the association had written several letters to the appropriate authorities to check criminality in the sea.
He, therefore, urged stakeholders, including the state and Federal Governments to check the activities of sea pirates in the state in order to forestall the scarcity of fish in the country
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