The Bille people in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State have once again raised alarm over the incessant sea pirate attack on the Bille-Port Harcourt sea route.
This alarm become necessary as the pirates struck again on Monday June 3, 2019 leaving two passengers seriously injured and two speed boats snatched from the victims including the loss of valuables belonging to the passengers.
The survivors narrated their ordeal to the public when they were eventually rescued to the bank of the river.
“This morning, five (5) speed-boats fully loaded with passengers were moving from Bille to Port Harcourt through the new Calabar River on a convoy, suddenly the boats were attacked by hoodlums in military camouflage who were heavily armed,” volunteered one of the victims.
They shot sporadically and injured many passengers before making away with their boats and valuables while the passengers were left at the mercy of God”.
The injured victims were said to be receiving treatment at a private hospital in port Harcourt.
Those who spoke to newsmen wondered aloud why Bille people should be subjected to these incessant sea piracy despite the presence of Army formation and police posts in the area.
When contacted, the Director of Army Public Relation Officer, Col. Musa Sagir feigned knowledge of the incidence.
Among the notable victims who were in the ill-fated boats were the Bille Community in Port Harcourt Chairman, Mr. Fi-ibite A. Bibi; Mr. Andrew Kio; Hon. Opukon H. Imo, counsellor representing Ward 16 in Degema; the newly elected chairman of Bille Kingdom Chiefs Council, Chief (Barr) Benneth Okpopkiye Dokubo, Mrs. Apaemi Amaye, President Bille Women Forum and Hon. Dumo Warigbani, Chairman, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Bille Unit.
Speaking with newsmen in Port Harcourt, the Bille Kingdom Youths Federation (BKYF) President, Pastor Iyowuna Diri appealed to the security agencies and indeed the Rivers State government to improve security on the sea routes as lives and property remains the most important responsibility of government.
He said there was need to clear the doubt and to reassure the people that the soldiers posted there were not involved in these attacks especially as the security agents were primarily meant to give them protection.