We lost 7 outboard engines to gunmen in 1 week – A’Ibom fishermen

Fishermen in Ini-Ikwe, a fishing settlement in Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, have raised alarm over rising attacks by gunmen, saying they have lost seven outboard engines within a week.

They made this known through their Spokesperson, Mr Ernest Charlie, when they met with Chairman of the local government, Elder Iniabasi Ekanem, at the council secretariat on Tuesday.

The fishermen, who narrated their plights to the council chairman, also appealed to government to beef up security within the area to avert further attack.

“Last week, gunmen collected six outboard engines from us and even cut off one of our friends’ hands during the attack. And just yesterday, one outboard engine was stolen again in our community.

“We need government to help us beef up security in this area in order to stop gunmen from further attacking us,” Charlie said.

He further told the chairman that each of the outboard engines stolen by the hoodlums cost about one million naira.

Charlie said that with the development, their sources of livelihood had been taken away, with uncertainty over their safety due to activities of the gunmen in the area.

“Our sources of business in the community are dying because of insecurity in our waterways. The state government should please come to our rescue.

“Gunmen are terrorising us in our water ways and our safety is not guaranteed. We no longer go out for fishing again as a result of the attacks,” Charlie said.

According to him, they no longer feel safe anymore to conduct their business activities in the area.

He also appealed to Gov. Udom Emmanuel and council authorities to deploy a surveillance boat to help curb the endless attacks by the gunmen.

Responding, Ekanem expressed dismay over such attacks by hoodlums in the waterways.

The chairman, represented by the Dean of Supervisors in the council, Mr Phillip Ambrose, sympathised with the affected fishermen.

He said that the council was collaborating with security agencies to tackle security situation in the area.

“They just called me now that gunmen have collected another outboard engine to make it seven. They have been collecting the outboard engines over time, and the fishermen have been exercising patience all these while.

“They collected one outboard engine in October last year and the fisherman managed to buy another one by November last year through contributions.

The chairman, who said that he would report their complaints to the appropriate authorities, urged them to remain calm and avoid taking laws into their hands.

“Do not take laws into your hands. We will to take the matter to the authorities,” he said

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