08 September 2018, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — Following the rising spate of sea piracy along the waterways in Rivers State, marine operators have called on the government to deploy security agents on the waterways.
A group called the Bonny Marine Transporters Association, BMTA, particularly called for the deployment of marine police and men of the Nigerian Navy for a routine water patrol to curb pirate attacks on boat drivers and sea travelers.
Safety officer of BMTA, Mr. Donatus Kingsley, said most drivers and passengers are scared of plying Bonny route due to pirates activities, as boats are attacked by pirates almost on a daily basis with passengers dispossessed of their valuables.
Donatus also called on the security agents to beef up security on water routes ahead of 2019 general election to enable eligible voters to travel and exercise their franchise.
He appealed to companies and residents of waterfronts in the state to desist from dumping their wastes into the river as such causes pollution, saying that most marine accidents were caused by industrial and inorganic wastes dumped into the river.
According to him, “In a space of two months, July and August 2018, five separate attacks have taken place along Bonny waterways.
“The police and Navy should intensify security patrol along the routes because the lives of boat operators and passengers at the route are in danger.”
Similarly, the Okrika Speedboat Owners Association has called on the Rivers State Government, multinational organisation and relevant agencies to channel efforts into removing debris on the waterways and creeks in the state.
Spokesperson of the group, Mr. George Otta, said refuse and debris in the creeks and waterways are the major challenges faced by boat operators, saying that dumping of wastes on the waterways should be condemned in its entirety.
Otta also called for an enlightenment and sensitisation programme on how best to bag and package wastes rather than dumping them on the river.