Life is not easy with farmers at the fishing settlement of Atabong Beach, in Okobo local government area of Akwa Ibom State, as pirates have reportedly killed one, leaving several persons injured.
WatchmanPost can report that the pirates on Sunday night, launched an attack on the settlement, killing one Bassey Effiong, a 35-year old man.
An eye-witness who broke the story to our reporter on the condition of anonymity, stated that pirates were not happy that the Marine Police were being supported by the community to escort loaded boats.
The source explained that when fishermen brought their goods from Abana, around the Bakasi estuary, the Marine Police were always there to provide security of lives and property.
The source maintained that sea pirates rather wanted the community to give them, the support of about a drum of diesel, costing about N45,000 to N50,000, which they gave the police on a weekly basis.
He further stated that after they had attacked the community, carting away with two 200 horse-power engine boats, the militants came again Sunday night and killed the victim.
The source noted that the body of the dead, was buried at the beach, with the help of the council chairman, Dr Sylvester Attah, whom he said had provided the casket.
He added that heads of security operations, including the officer in charge of Marine Police, the Divisional Police Officer of the area, the Area Commander in Oron, and those of the Joint Military Tax Force were aware of the situation and took part in the burial process of the victim.
Confirming the incident to WatchmanPost, the Paramount Ruler of Okobo LGA, HRM Obong Ita Okokon said his family was at serious security threat.
In a phone conversation with our reporter Tuesday, the Isonsi I of Okobo Kingdom, noted that the pirates had vowed to deal with him.
He said, “My brother, what you’ve heard is true. Those people have succeeded to chase me out of my palace. Myself, my wife and my children are at risk of this sad development.
“I left my palace two weeks ago. The cost of staying outside my domain is heavy on me. I don’t know why these people are after me. This is about the fifth time they have attacked us this year.
“We need a special security presence in Atabong Beach. I also need a security post near my palace, because they have been touring the whole place and seeking to strike. Governor Udom Emmanuel should please do something about it”, he implored.
Also, the council Chairman, Dr Sylvester Attah, told WatchmanPost that the incident was true.
Speaking on phone Tuesday evening, Attah however told our reporter that he was in a serious meeting. He begged to speak with him later in the evening after his meeting.
“The whole thing is true. But I will need time to give you the complete details. I am at a meeting right now. Please let’s talk later in the evening”, he said.
Unfortunately, deadline caught up with our reporter who resorted to other means of getting more information.
An official of the council, however, informed WatchmanPost, that the council was at the verge of submitting an SOS (Save Our Souls) message to the Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel for an urgent intervention.
Although the divisional police officer, John Inyang, could not respond to phone conversations, the officer in-charge of the Marine Police, Bashir Hashim confirmed the incident.
Bashir Hashim however expressed confidence that there was no cause for alarm as security agents were doing their best to bring normalcy to the area.
Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer of Akwa Ibom State Police Command, SP Odiko MacDon said he was yet to be properly briefed on the matter.
“That information is still very sketchy. I cannot comment on what I have no full details of. Once we’re fully aware of the situation, we will update members of the press”, he said.