Major Gen. Muhammdu Buhari (rtd), GCFR
President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces,
Aso Rock Presidential Villa,
Yakubu Gowon Crescent,
The Three Arms Zone,
Asokoro, Abuja FCT
11th January, 2021
Bonny LGA: Unoccasioned killings on waterways, the need to revamp security network, save lives & livelihood as well as infrastructure
The above-named subject refers
For over 13 years and counting, there has been a reign of terror for indigenes and residents of Bonny LGA of Rivers State arising from sea robbery attacks. It’s imperative to state that Bonny Island has no major means of transportation, save water transportation. The major source of income: fishing and farming, embarked upon by our parents of ancient times, has been eroded with the introduction of Oil and gas exploration in the area. Bonny LGA plays host to Nigeria LNG, the cash-cow of the Federal Government of Nigeria. From where billions of dollars are earned in revenue, yet open to insecurity, save critical private sector investments.
This island (Bonny) boasts of a rich cultural heritage and hospitality, next to none within the shores of Africa. However, there lies a problem. This beautiful home to hundreds of thousands of people has been ravaged by insecurity unattended.
Within 2007 and 2020, goods and cash worth over hundreds of millions of Nigerian naira have been lost to daredevil armed thugs. Lives have been lost too. Our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters have been raped, our fathers, husbands, brothers and sons have been beaten, killed and thrown into the sea. They kill and we bury.
Mr. President, Government (unfortunately, including the Federal Government) at all levels have failed in their core mandate to protect lives and property over the years and there is just so much one can take, until it becomes truly enough. Security agencies operatives in the area take to molestation of harmless law abiding citizens rather than provide security for which they are paid with taxpayers money.
The closest seat of government to the people is the LGA chairman, the occupant of the said office the last three years, has been everything short of a public office holder, certainly overwhelmed by the responsibility of his office and unable to marshal out actionable points to deal this menace.
Today, the youths have resisted all forms of intimidation from military personnel and embarked on a PEACEFUL PROTEST with some demands. Let me share with you briefly the reason for this recent outburst.
It’s festive season and lots of persons traveled home. Unfortunately, those who traveled home to Bonny had much more than they bargained for as on the 5th of January, 2021 persons boarded a boat to one of the villages to participate in the festivities. On their way back from Dema-Abbey community to Bonny main town, their boat was rounded up by armed thugs who made away with the outboard engines, this was after they murdered in cold-blood, two youths who made them out namely, McDonald Ibifubara Banigo and Tamunodienye Allison. They were buried the following day and ever since the town has been in mourning.
Bonny LGA should not be good to drive revenue alone. The lives of our people should matter too. It is primarily a function of government to provide security, if we let things slip into anarchy, where citizens are to provide their own security, it is certain that we shall all as a nation, pay dearly for the resultant consequences.
Sir, We are calling on all relevant authorities, including the Rivers State Government led by Barr. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike that abdicated his responsibility, to please rise to the occasion and tackle insecurity in this area. We have been peaceful as a host as well as an impacted community, this is why from 2004 till date, NLNG has remitted over $20bn (approx. ₦7.898trn) to the Federal government.
An improved security network for this community is the least government and the private sector can provide to ameliorate the sufferings brought upon us by exploration activities.
Also, on the 12th of September, 2020 at the burial of late Amaopusenibo Kenneth Banigo, gunmen stormed the venue at Banigo Community kidnapping 5 persons, adduced #banigo5 and they are due 4 months in captivity by tomorrow 12th January. Who will bell the cat? We are hounded in our own homes.
2019 to 2020 records of armed robbery attacks on BNY-PHC waterways and villages
1. 17th February 2019 attack on BNY-PH waterways
2. 13th May 2019 armed robbery attack on BNY-PH waterways. The passengers were off loaded in the swamps
3. 18th April 2019 armed robbery attack on BNY-PH waterways. The passengers were robbed
4. 22nd July 2019 armed robbery attack on BNY-PH waterways
5. 30th August 2019 armed robbery attack on BNY-PH waterways. The passengers were off load on mud
6. 25 September 2019 three boats were attacked on Bonny waterways. The following persons were abducted Mr. Ben Harry, Prince Wilcox and unnamed person. Ransom running in millions was paid to secure their release
7. 30th September 2019 two speed boats attacked by armed robbers on the BNY-PH waterways
8. 5 October 2019 a boat was attacked, though several gunshots were fired, but it was a near miss
9. 4 November, 2019 a boat was pursued by sea pirates, though it was a near miss but 2 persons was gunned down while a boat was destroyed by bullets the same day along Bille route
10. 12 November 2019, a boat carrying 4 immigration officers was attacked, and the 4 officers abducted and released a week later
11. 3 December 2019, 19 tanker crew members were abducted at night. 18 Indians nationals and 1 Turkish national, and later released
12. 6 December 2019, Sea pirates robbed a boat in the evening and left with the boat. This happened close to the yellow platform
13. 2 January, 2020 sea pirates attack. No official statement made on the extent of causality
14. 10th January, 2020 boat mishap. Praise God no lives were loss, but properties worth millions were lost. The cause of the mishap is yet to be investigated and reported
15. On 26th January, 2020 gun men abducted Mr. Mina Jumbo and Lawrence Green. A police man was shot dead. The men used the coconut estate creek route
16. 14th February, 2020 sea pirates attacked a vessel Maersk Tema. They held the crew hostage for weeks
17. March 2020, Mr Benjamin Mac People’s father abducted at Iyoba Ama village for 2 weeks and himself abducted for 8 days upon payment of ransom
18. 12th September 2020, Banigo village attacked, 5 persons abducted (Mr. Sunny Hart, Daniel Dagogo Robert Hart, Theophilus Ibiama, Mr. Thompson Micah Allison and Mr. Jackmay), three shot and many injured
19. 29th September sea pirates attacked boat going to Kaa market in Ogoni from Bonny in which a 3 months old baby was thrown into the River (Bonny – Andoni route)
20. 26th October 2020, a boat was attacked and the passengers offload on the mud and possibly one lady abducted.
21. 8th November 2020, a boat was attacked and the driver drove into the mangrove of which all the passengers ran into the muddy mangrove. Their properties were carted away from the grounded boat by the armed robbers. Many of the passengers sustained injuries
22. 25th November 2020, a boat was attacked, one dead, properties worth millions lost and some of the passengers injured. They were rescued the following day 26th morning. However, one of the hoodlums was captured. Boat collision with the pirate’s boat
23. 30th November 2020, a boat from PH to Bonny was hijacked with the passengers. The passengers were stripped naked, while two men were abducted (Kidnapped)
24. 13th December 2020, Gabriella Sokari Tolofari aged 5 yrs was missing in Bethel community. No statement from the community or government, no culprits
25. 18th December 2020, LNG Lagos II reported a pirate threat to vessel and crew en route the Bonny terminal
26. 19th December 2020, MAERSK CADIZ (9526459) was attacked by unknown number of suspected pirates while sailing from Tema to Kiribi South West Bonny Island
27. 3rd January, 2021 a boat was hijacked coming back from Iyoba-Ama
28. 5th January, 2021, a boat was hijacked coming from Dema. The passengers jumped into the River (we lost two vibrant youths – Ibifubara Macdonald and Dienye Allison, and they took the boat engines).
29. 7th January, 2021 the sea robbers came out, but were chased by the youths.
(Statistical analysis as documented by Dr. Abarasi Abbey-Hart)
Mr. President, it is time for action and we count on your expediency.
A critically concerned indigene (of Bonny)
Professor Yemi Osinbajo
Sen. Ahmed Lawan
Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila
HQ Nigerian Army
Defence Headquarters, Nigeria
Nigerian Air Force HQ