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Maritime

Okrika Speed Boat Operators Lament Military Harassment

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Speed boat operators ply
ing  Okrika to Port Harcourt have lamented over the harassment by Military Personnel and the indiscriminate parking of barges and tug-boats.
The operators who said this in an interview with The Tide Correspondent at Marine Base Port Harcourt yesterday said that the activities of these people and companies are posing a great challenge to their business and even endanger the lives of their passengers.
According to them, it has become imperative that government and other relevant authorities should come to their aid in order to safe them from unnecessary embarrassments adding that there is the need to also save the lives of their fellow boat drivers and make the business environment conducive.
A commercial speedboat driver, Miebaka Alikeri said “the NLNG Service boats, the indiscriminate parking of barges and tug-boats at Abuloma waterfront and emptying of dust-bins into the river is a big problem that should be looked into by the authorities to ease their operations.”
Another driver, Tamunobarasinpiri Amangi lamented over the activities of the Naval personnel at Abuloma, as well as that of the Joint Task Force (JTF) at Marine Base.
Another Operator, Mr Lamunotonye Michael Obipi expressed worry as barges and tug-boats parked at the waterways along Abuloma pose a great danger to the lives and property of their passengers, adding that a seven –year old boy died as a result of the indiscriminate parking when their boat capsized while avoiding the barges.
Obipi also berated the activities of the Naval personnel and the Army in the area, stating that despite the good relationship existing between us,  “ they still molest our drivers when NLNG boats and those doing illegal bunkering were allowed to speed off for reasons best known to them.
According to him, one of their drivers, Wilson Kalio was yesterday given the beaten of his life by the Navy at Abuloma with an allegation that he did not slow down when he supposed to do so, adding that the victim is receiving treatment in a private clinic.
He also disclosed that early this year, NLNG boat on speed capsized one of their speed boats but luckily no life was lost. He called on the government to set up a taskforce to monitor boat operators as was the case of TIMARIV for road transport.
Since the Okrik sea route is peaceful, they should allow us to operate till 10.00 pm and the military should co-operate with us while barges and tug-boats owners at Abuloma should re-park their marine equipments to avoid unnecessary accident,” he said.
In his contribution, Owunari Biriowu said “I am not happy with the activities of the Military Men. They confront passengers with loads, drivers with 200 Horse power engine boat were cautioned why they should use such double engines. In short, they should co-operate with us to ease our marine business as law abiding citizens.”

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Maritime

Piracy: MWUN Tasks NIMASA On Security Of Inland Waters

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to extend the activity wing of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waterways to curb piracy and other forms of criminal activities.
The Deep Blue Project consists of Nigeria’s maritime security assets commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.
Despite the launch of the USD195 million maritime security assets, criminal acts have persisted in the Gulf of Guinea (GOG) and the nations inland waterways, witnessing the abduction of eight persons including five maritime workers, along the Kula-Abonnema River.
Speaking on the abduction, Deputy General Secretary of MWUN, Comrade Oniha Erazua, urged NIMASA to extend the coverage of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waters considering the incessant abduction of travellers along the waterways.
“It’s appalling that five of our workers were abducted suddenly. It took the intervention of some stakeholders to get them rescued eventually. Our coastal waters are essential to the economy of the country and should be secured.
“Should we now leave our inland waters insecure to the detriment of our workers? It shouldn’t be. We are begging NIMASA to extend the activity wing of the Deep Blue Project to the inland waters that are prone to kidnapping and all other maritime related crimes”, he said.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

MWUN Members Relive Experiences In Kidnappers’ Den …Say They Were Fed With Garri, Flogged With Knives

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The five members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Rivers State Branch, that regained freedom from kidnappers’ den last week say they were fed with only garri and flogged with knives and sticks while in captivity. 
The MWUN members said they were fed for three out of the six days in captivity in the hands of the suspected pirates.
Narrating their ordeal to The Tide shortly after their release in Port Harcourt, the victims comprising four men and one woman said they were set free and dumped at a mangrove forest near Abonnema between 8pm and 9pm.
“The experience at the mangrove was not easy, we were beaten with knives and sticks by the pirates.
“We were fed with garri for only three days through out our six days of captivity, once in a day”, one of the victims who did not want his name mentioned said. 
 The victims, however, declined to give reasons why they were abducted by suspected gunmen on their way to Port Harcourt on a commercial boat.
It would be recalled that the five members of MWUN were kidnapped two weeks ago by suspected pirates onboard a commercial boat from Kula, near Abonnema to Port Harcourt to attend a meeting. 
The MWUN gave their names as Comrade Wisdom Iderima, Chairman, MWUN, Kula Unit; West Opubo, Secretary, MWUN, Kula, Unit; Ajenina Daniel, Vice Chairman, and Madam Clementeba Clementeba Exco officio of MWUN, Kula Unit. 
One of the abductees, Madam Clementeba said she had been kidnapped three times by pirates.
She said she had 12 boats that used to ply Kula /Abonnema routes, but had all been stolen by criminals.
She said sea robbers had carted away 10 of her speed boats for no reasons.
Clementeba called on the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the state government to assist her recover her missing boats and curb sea piracy on the waterways.

By: Chinedu Wosu

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Maritime

NIWA Threatens To Arrest Fishermen Defecating In Lagos Lagoon

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The National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) has threatened to arrest and prosecute any fisherman that defecates into Lagos lagoon.
This was contained in a statement by Kelvin Eba, an official of the agency working at the Liverpool area of Apapa, Lagos while warning the fishermen.
Eba said the agency would no longer tolerate the practice, but insisted that it would arrest and prosecute any culprit.
He said NIWA had set up patrol teams to arrest offenders, most of whom he described as “illiterates and drug addicts”.
He said, “Defecating into the river, lagoon and such places is classified as open defecation, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), can lead to the outbreak of diseases including diarrhea and others associated with ingesting and exposure to human waste”.
The Tide reports that in October 2019, Nigeria became the number one open defecation nations in the world, overtaking India. 
An estimate of 10 to 50 million Nigerians are said to be defecating in the open space.

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