…Threatens To Boycott Elections If…
Members of Fishermen Association of Rivers State are worried over what they described as undeserving treatment by government, arguing that their counterparts, the farmers in the State are always given priority attention.
Demanding equal treatment and recognition by government, the fishers said unless they are reassured of equal rights as law abiding, peace-loving and loyal citizens as in other sectors of the State economy, they would boycott subsequent elections in the State.
The chairman of the Fishermen Association, Elder Micheal Owutubo Wilfred in a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt said their disposition was against the backdrop of continued neglect and government's in sensitivity to their welfare over the years.
He lamented that all attempts by the association to draw the attention of the State Government, the ministry of agriculture and other stakeholders to come to their aid failed when the rivers and creeks were polluted as a result of discharged seized illegal petroleum products into the rivers, thereby causing untold hardship to its members.
The head Fisherman in the State further said the polluted rivers drastically affected the members and their fishing occupation as they hardly made good catch whenever they sailed out for the exhibition, adding that some members could not even feed, pay their children's school fees, access medical attention and other socio-economic activities.
According to him, as a result of these hardship, the association appealed to the authorities for assistance by providing fishing gears, nets, hooks, ropes, engine boats and other modern fishing facilities but to no avail, disclosing that these and other reasons have prompted the members to issue the threat.
Elder Wilfred also lamented that all appeals for government to prevent the Joint Task Force (JTF) not to destroy and empty the illegal products into the rivers and creeks were treated with kids' gloves.
“Please I want the government to come to our aid to improve our living condition and occupation so that we will also cast our votes as Nigerians and Stakeholders in Rivers State as we are ready to reciprocate with our Permanent Voters Cards to vote for candidates of our choice for more development in the State. So we are not happy for the long neglect because we also contribute to the living standard of the people,” he posited.
Elder Wilfred however appealed to the members to be patient with the government, assuring that he was optimistic that their plights would receive attention and urged them to remain committed to the association and loyal to the authorities as law abiding citizens.