) Chief Williams Mkpah, the Transitional Chairman of Ibeno Local Government Area has said that sea pirates kidnapped eight fishermen fishing in Akwa Ibom.
Mkpah confirmed the kidnap in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibeno, Akwa Ibom on Saturday.
According to him, Ibeno is prone to sea piracy activities.
He said that “two nights ago six fishermen were kidnapped on Thursday night, Aug. 18 and two on Friday morning, Aug. 19 in the creeks of Ibeno and its environs.
“As I am speaking sea pirates is intensifying in the Ibeno community and they want to ensure that that they stop fishermen from going to sea for fishing,’’ he said.
Mkpah said that the sea pirates were demanding for millions of naira as ransom from the fishermen before releasing them.
He explained that the fishermen were made to pay levies by the sea pirates before they go for fishing in the area.
He alleged that “they have informant in our communities, who will inform them of the take off of a particular fisherman and possible routes where they are going for fishing.
“One of them was caught in Eket in the process of coming to collect ransom for somebody, one of the Ibeno boys made us to track him.
“And he has made useful statement to the police but as I speak now I don’t know what the Police Command in Uyo is doing about it.
“Since the suspect was caught, the issue of sea pirates increased seriously and they are now demanding for their man.
“Since we don’t want to release their man, they have now resorted to kidnapping of every fishermen,’’ Mkpah said.
Mkpah called on the security operatives to be more proactive in combating sea piracy in the state.
“In a very short while we will declare hunger strike in this community because when we can no longer go to sea, we will all be starving.
“If the security in this state cannot rise to the challenge of the people of Ibeno and salvage us from this menace, Ibeno people will die of hunger,’’ he said.
He said that he has officially written to security operatives in the state but no response.
“I have reporter the matter to DSS, Police, Navy and state government and they are all aware and I have sent reports but no response yet,’’ Mkpah said.
Reacting, the Public Relation Officer of the Police Command in Akwa Ibom, ASP. Cordelia Nwawe, said that they were not aware of the kidnap of the eight fishermen in Ibeno.
“They should make an official reports to the Akwa Ibom Command for proper investigations. They should official tell the police, so I don’t have the reports and I can’t comment on it,’’ Nwawe said.