… Latest Attack Claims Life, Two Injured
The people of Bille Kingdom people have once again decried the incessant attacks on the passenger boats on their waterways and called on the authorities especially the state governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, the Degema Council Boss, Hon. Tony Philemon and the Rivers State House of Assembly to intervene urgently before the people are totally exterminated.
In a press briefing Tuesday July 9, 2019, the Amanyanabo-in-council and chiefs drew attention to the renewed attack on Bille passenger boats by unidentified gunmen dressed in military camouflage over the weekend which they said claimed the life of one Mr. Abraham Anthony Alex and left Mr. Diepiriye Isaac and Mr. Ori-Ipiriye Ebi fatally injured.
The people lamented that despite their complaints and public outcry including a petition to the Rivers State House of Assembly, they are yet to receive any result.
The Bille people also said that despite the matching order of the governor and Rivers State House of Assembly ad-hoc committee to the Degema Council Boss, Hon. Tony Philemon for him to come the peoples aids by way of providing escort to the boats at the interim, which he promised, nothing tangible has been done and that the chairman no longer take his calls nor respond to SMS messages which eventually has led to the current attack.
The council of Chiefs and Elders Chairman, Alabo (Barr.) Bennett Okpokiye-Dokubo (Opu-Abekere XV) however confirmed that after about three weeks, the council chairman provided the security to their passenger boats, he reneged and left them to their fate. He also used the opportunity to recall the attacks on them along the Bille-Port Harcourt sea route last month which left many of the passengers injured and their boats stolen.
“Upon the crying of the Bille people and with the intervention of the 29th Battalion Tactical headquarters of the Nigerian Army stationed in the area, the spate of attacks ceased for at least three weeks. However, no sooner than the army stopped giving escort to the passenger boats, the gunmen stormed again on Monday July 8, 2019.
This attack which took place around the New Calabar River was devastating to us as we no longer travel out of Bille Community nor those in Port-Harcourt go home for fear of being attacked, a development which has affected our economic life”, he said.
He also disclosed how they have been providing fuel for the army boat to enable them give them this coverage which he noted, has ran into millions of naira before the intervention of the government.
Alabo Bennett Okpokiye-Dokubo regretted that the army that is stationed at the place does nothing substantial to assist them until there is an incidence before they run down.
On whether there was any reason to point accusing fingers to their neighbouring communities, the chairman, Amanyanabo-in-council and chiefs said they are at a loss on that, but made it clear that their attackers remains simply unidentified gunmen on army camouflage, adding that they don't know of anybody or group the Bille people have provoked to the extent of ambushing and killing them at will.
In their prayers, the Bille Kingdom are again passionately calling on the state governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to urgently initiate appropriate mechanisms to put an end to the unwarranted attacks on Bille passengers on the waterways.
They are also calling on the federal government and relevant security agencies to come to their aid by way of putting in place all necessary measures that would curb the menace of attacks on Bille people.
The people of Bille are also calling on the Rivers State House of Assembly to urgently make public its findings on the investigation into the incessant attacks on Bille passenger boats along the Bille waterways and to work closely with all relevant government agencies towards putting an end to the loss of lives, trauma and economic losses suffered by Bille people in the hands of unknown gunmen.