Ibaka, a fishing community in Akwa Ibom State situated along Nigeria’s maritime border with Cameroon have raised concern over frequent attacks by pirates.
Two fishermen were killed in Ibaka community a fortnight ago by the pirates, the youth president of the community said.
Ibaka community in a Save Our Soul to the federal and state governments said businesses and residents have been under the siege of pirates.
The activities of pirates have crippled the economic well-being of people in the area and have resulted in the death of fishermen, Anietie Esu, a journalist from the area reported on Wednesday.
The National President of Ibaka Youth Association, Mr Daniel Udombo, lamented that his people are now living in fear following unabated attacks by the pirates.
He said pirates attack fishermen on the waterways on daily basis and cart away their boats, outboard engines, fishing nets and other belongings.
The youth leader disclosed that more than 60 outboard engines, boats, and millions of Naira worth of other fishing equipment as well as seafood have been stolen from members of the community between April and May this year.
Udombo said the “unfortunate and sad incidence” would cause a scarcity of fish, crayfish, and other seafood because fewer fishermen are willing to risk attack.
He said, “More than 5000 people would be forced out of business in the next few months if the activities of pirates are not checked.
“The activities of these sea pirates (sic) have really affected the economy of our area. We have about 100 hundred Ghana boats going for fishing and each boat employs over 50 persons both the fishermen and those working when they return from fishing.
“So, by the time all these boats are being stopped from fishing by sea pirates, thousands of people who are benefiting directly and indirectly from this business would be jobless.
“The attacks on the people by sea pirates (sic) have become daring and gotten to the point that the pirates would come to Ibaka beach and extort money from fishermen and if the fishermen fail to pay, the pirates will abduct and kidnap people for ransom.
“The fear of the unknown is crippling the fishing business and other businesses. Sometimes, these sea pirates (sic) would come even very close to the Nigerian Navy Forward Operations Base in Ibaka and rob our people of their outboard engines and even abduct people for ransom and go away without any intervention from Navy and other security agencies.”
Speaking further he said, “By the time you report to the Navy, the Navy would say they have not been given orders to attack the sea pirates (sic). Sometimes, the marine police would say they don’t have functional boats. That is the problem we are facing.The fishermen are scared to go fishing.
“The fishermen going for fishing are the ones who have prepared for the worst. A fortnight ago, two people were shot dead by the sea pirates.”.
The youth leader called on the government to save the people of Ibaka whose main occupation is fishing from the pirates.