Daily killings and kidnap in Bonny, Rivers State, have caused a huge uproar as citizens have risen in protest, claiming they have been condemned to uncertainty and death.
Marauding sea pirates attacked two boats ferrying passengers to Bonny at about 8 pm on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, killing two – Macdonald Ibifubara Banigo and Kingsley Tamunodienye Allison – after flogging them mercilessly on the head with paddles and butchering their bodies with knives and other dangerous weapons, while ordering the rest into the chilling water to drown.
This was coming two days short of four months since the kidnap of five members of the community – Thompson Allison, Sunny Hart, Daniel Hart, Theophilus Ibiama, and Dagogo Jackmay – by sea pirates at a funeral at Banigo Community on September 12, 2020.
This triggered a round of agitation among residents who vowed to protest the failure of the relevant authorities to checkmate the continued onslaught on the waterways around Bonny LGA by yet-to-be-identified hoodlums.
For a start, the citizens began a protest march around the island expected to cripple operations in the place. They began at the jetties to ensure no movement was possible. Next, some individuals have made out protest letters to President Muhammadu Buhari asking for immediate intervention.
The citizens reminded the federal and state governments about Bonny being an economic nerve centre and oil/gas hub. They condemned the multinational corporations, the monarchy, and the governments for not stirring one bit in the killings that go on daily.
For most of Monday, January 11, 2021, the island went into lockdown as residents massed up at the Coal Beach to protest the incessant attacks on travellers along the Bonny-Port Harcourt sea route by daredevil sea pirates who rob, maim, kill or kidnap their victims.
According to the organisers, the peaceful protest tagged #EndSeaPiracy took off by 7 am at the Coal Beach, from where they marched through the streets to the King Perekule Palace, close to Ikuba Square in the Madupolo precinct of the town.
From there the protesting party was to march through the Mission Road and then through Hospital Road to the Secretariat of the Bonny Local Government Council.
From information gleaned from posts on the Facebook walls of some of the agitators, the protesters raised a five-point demand to the Amanyanabo and Natural Ruler of Bonny Kingdom and the chairman of Bonny Local Government Area.
The demands include that security houseboats and gunboats with an ambulance should be set up and maintained at strategic points along the Port Harcourt-Bonny sea route, and that the Federal Government, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Rivers State Government should look into the Bonny Ring Road project to aid security in the island villages in Bonny and set up community surveillance team for our sea routes.
Others are ensuring boats and all travelling facilities or equipment (life jacket, engine, etc.) are in good condition and adequate for operations; public profiling of all boat drivers and owners including those plying the village routes; and create a compensation fund for victims of sea piracy.
Some residents who spoke to newsmen said the protest was necessary due to the incessant attacks on travellers on the Bonny-Port Harcourt sea route, noting that the recent one on travellers returning to Bonny Town from Dema Abbey Community on Tuesday, January 5 was the height of terror being witnessed by the people of the area.