From: Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The people of Opu-Okumbiri in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have raised the alarm over the threat of fishing trawlers to the people of the community.
The community liaison officer, Mr. Domo Adam, in a statement, however, called on the Federal and the Bayelsa State governments to intervene on behalf of the people before there a breakdown of law and order in the area.
According to Adam the unwarranted attack by fishing trawlers on the fishing folks at the continental shelf-shallow waters by the Atlantic Ocean is quite worrisome.
He disclosed that several people have reported ugly encounters with the fishing trawlers to the security agencies but no action has been taken.
The statement read in part: “The operators sporadically shoot fishermen at sight, always drag along the fishing gears thereby disrupting the peaceful traditional occupation of the rural-coastal dwellers. There are reported incidents of lost of various types of fishing nets and hook lines both day and night leaving the people in abject poverty. Recently, Mr. Tata Gabriel was shot in the head and sustained wounds, while Mr. Godspower Babudugu escaped from the attack unhurt.
“Elsewhere, in Okumbiribeleu, Mr. Oliver Ilegimokumo, and Mr. Tobin Korite in their separate lone-fishing expeditions, encountered the ugly situations. The ravaging trawlers bullets hit them but they were unhurt. However, the victims took the bullets found in the boats as evidence. Other hazard the littoral indigenes experience, include gunmen, sea pirates attacks, boats mishaps, incessant spills of crude oil by petroleum exploring companies, bad weather which result in occasional loss of lives and property; thus making livelihoods unbearable. These menaces threaten the survival of the people.
“The Navy (JTF) are not seen on sight at the area to accost the foreign Trawlers as the coast is vulnerable to territorial invaders to Nigeria nation at the Atlantic Ocean.”