The people of Bille Kingdom in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State on Tuesday, October 27, held a peaceful protest against insecurity on their Waterways.
This is coming two days after suspected sea pirates attacked a boat conveying passengers to Port Harcourt, the state capital, on Sunday afternoon, October 25.
One died while most of the passengers managed to flee into the creeks.
A former Chairman, Community Development Committee (CDC), Chairman, Asatubo Igbanibo Kemuel, identified the victim as Taminoemi Kemuel.
“On Sunday, the Sea Pirates making traveling to and fro Bille-Port Harcourt highly miserable for our people struck a passengers’ boat. As a result, one person is found missing, their valuables and even the speedboat were taken away," he said.
"Sadly, the victim, Mr. Taminoemi Kemuel, my first cousin. He was returning to Port Harcourt from Bille Town to when he met his sudden and untimely death. He is a father of 6 whose recent children include a set of twins which births took place roughly a month ago. I strongly call on the State Government to immediately put a stop to the excesses of the Sea Pirates in the Bille – Port Harcourt water route. The pirates’ activities are now very regular due to the absence of security checks on our water way. Enough is enough for Bille people lives matter.” he added.
The protesters are demanding for the government and security agencies to address the rising cases of Sea Piracy and kidnapping in the area.
Speaking about the protest, Facebook user, Adline Kiente Fenibo said that traveling to the village used to be a thing of joy for them but it's no longer so.
The Facebook post reads "Over the past months and weeks, the natives of Bille Kingdom in Degema local government area of Rivers state, haven't known peace in our waterways. Our lives and properties are being threatened by sea pirates, we've lost our youth to the gruesome series of attacks on our waterways by sea pirates, yet the Rivers state government and the local government chairman have remained silent without no actions to curb the menace,"
"Traveling to the village used to be a thing of joy for us, but it's no longer so because we do not know who is next or when the next attack will be carried out, we're living in fear, we travel in fear, fear of losing our lives and properties to sea pirates.
"Bille Kingdom being an island, our waterways is the only means of transportation of people and goods to and from the community, and if our only source of transportation is being occupied by sea pirates, how then do we go about our daily life activities and businesses? Just two days ago, we lost one of our youth to these monsters because there's no security.
"It's appalling that Bille Kingdom bears the headquarters of the 29th battalion of the Nigerian army, yet, basic security has gone extinct in our waterways. For how long will this continue? Is it till we lose all our young men? (Tamino dukuma) This must stop!
"It is the the sole responsibility of the government to provide security for its citizens and natives, Therefore I'm calling on the Executive governor of Rivers state, Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike. The chairman, Delga, Hon. Tony Philmoore. The honourable member of the Rivers state house of assembly representing the Degema constituency, Hon. Anthony Soberekon. The Bille Kingdom council of chiefs and all relevant bodies, to act as fast as possible to rerun peace and security to our waterways. Their silence is highly condemned by my humble self and every well meaning Billeinbo.
"Enough of the killings and attacks of our people, enough!!!''