The Bonny Gentlemen’s League, a frontline socio-cultural organization in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers state, has voiced concern over the festering security situation across the country, calling on the three-tier levels of government to do the needful to arrest the scourge.
Rising from its 41st Annual Convention which held recently at the Palladium Hub, Bonny Island, the group said it was worried at the spate of insecurity in Bonny Kingdom, an island that plays host to three major international oil and gas companies namely SPDC, Exxon Mobil and NLNG.
In a communique issued after the convention, which was jointly signed by newly elected Chancellor, Amaopusenibo (Squadron Leader) Olam Allwell-Brown (Rtd), JP; Director of Publicity, Patrick Alali Hart and Registrar, Victor Ibigoni Jumbo, the League regretted that despite her strategic economic importance, Bonny Island is faced with multi-faceted security challenges including armed banditry, sordid militancy and cult-related clashes on the island and along the Bonny-Port Harcourt sea route, where the activities of sea pirates have assumed a disquieting dimension.
The group further expressed worries that the incessant piracy attacks along the Bonny waterways and the prevailing activities of criminal gangs on the island could threaten residents of Bonny Kingdom and the operations of the IOCs, especially the upcoming NLNG Train 7 project.
“We note with dismay that to date, five Bonny sons who were kidnapped by criminal gangs on Bonny Island since 12th September, 2020 are still being held hostage with no hope of their release by the abductors or their rescue by security agencies”, the League lamented.
To tackle the emerging threat, the group called on the federal government to deploy necessary offensive platforms in men and equipment, including helicopter gunships along the Bonny-Port Harcourt marine corridor.
The League also called on the Rivers State Government to provide the JTF, Navy and the Marine Police the needed logistics support to enable them carry out aggressive surveillance patrols along the Bonny sea routes to ensure security and safety of passengers.
It also called on the Bonny Local Government Council develop, implement and enforce a comprehensive maritime public safety policy with regard to sea transportation between Bonny and Port Harcourt and its satellite communities, adding that the policy should also mandate boat owners, operators and passengers to follow the safety guidelines while providing adequate punishment for violators in accordance with the law.
“The Bonny Local Government should synergize with the traditional institution and critical stakeholders including security agencies/experts, titled citizens’ assembly, youth organizations, IOCs and corporate organizations for an all-inclusive proactive and preventive security on the island”, the communique disclosed, even as it also urged the Council to come up with necessary legislation for the establishment of Bonny Island Security Network to complement the efforts of the security agencies.
Highpoint of the convention was the election of a new Executive to pilot the affairs of the organization for the next two years. Those elected include: Amaopusenibo (Rtd Squadron Leader) Olam Allwell-Brown (Chancellor); Victor Ibigoni Jumbo (Registrar); Fiabema Hailsham (Deputy Registrra); Dellian Dappa (Director of Finance) and Amasenibo Anthony Fombo (Director of Exchequer).
Others are Ethelbert Oko-Jumbo (Chief Whip); Sodienye Banigo (Director Socials/Welfare) and Patrick Alali Hart (Director of Publicity).