JTF, civil society groups differ over sea piracy in Bayelsa, Rivers

Samuel Oyadongha

08 August 2012, Sweetcrude, YENAGOA – THE Joint Task Force, JTF, in the Niger Delta, codenamed Operation Pulo Shield, Tuesday, differed with members of civil society groups in Bayelsa State over the latter’s claim of high rate of sea piracy and violent crimes on the creeks and waterways of the region.

It described recent incidents of kidnappings and attacks on ships as isolated and not an indication of insecurity in the region.

Civil society groups, led by Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, through the state secretary, Mr Alagoa Morris, had expressed concern over the resurgence in cases of kidnapping, sea piracy and attacks on the creeks of Bayelsa and Rivers States and called on the State and Federal Governments to step up security in the region.

Morris expressed worry that despite the offer and acceptance of Presidential Amnesty by the militants and military presence in the Niger Delta, the twin-problems of sea piracy and kidnapping were still raging on the region’s waterways.

He said, “The recent cases of piracy and kidnapping on the waterways of the Niger Delta, especially in Rivers and Bayelsa States had further heightened the concerns of those using the creeks.

“The Federal and State Governments should join hands to create special security units that will patrol the waterways to ensure safety of travelers/sailors.

“The governments should redouble efforts at, not only effectively combating these violent crimes; but fight corruption head-on and provide jobs for the teaming unemployed and enabling environment for business to thrive in the country.”

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  • What else could the JTF have said. Keeping quiet in the face of such accusation would have amounted to admitting they have failed in their mandate.