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BONNY ISLAND HAS BECOME AN ISLAND OF TERROR AND FEAR - HON. RANDOLPH

By Uchechukwu Ugboaja
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Since the discovery of crude oil in Nigeria I'm the oil rich Niger-Delta the region has become the bride of the Nation as it is responsible for the enormous wealth that the country derives from petrodollars. This has also seen the region ironically suffer serious environmental degradation which has led to agitations by groups demanding for improved means of livelihood for its people. However in recent times it appears that the spate of terror and crime meted out on the people of Bonny Island have reached unprecedented levels and the legislator representing Degema/Bonny Federal Constituency Hon. Randolph I. O. Brown speaks exclusively to our reporter as he seeks urgent intervention from the federal govt and the multinationals expropriating the land before the people resort to self help. Exceprts

Reporter: Hon. Randolph what is the state of things in your constituency as regards some of the security reports we have been receiving of attacks on innocent lives and properties?

Hon. Randolph: I can tell you that the situation is daily becoming a source of worry as our once very peaceful Bonny Island is gradually turning into an Island of fear and terror, and I say so with every sense of responsibility because there are statistical facts to show that our people have persistently been attacked on our water ways unabated as the security forces appear helpless to provide adequate protection for our people. In fact it may not be strange to conclude that Bonny people are now an endangered specie. That is why I am moving a motion on the floor of the house to request for the urgent need to curb the incessant insecurity challenges affecting the lives of our people and preventing them from going about their daily social and economic activities, with a view to urging the security agencies which include specifically the Navy, Marine Police, NIMASA and other relevant agencies to live up to their responsibilities in the affected communities.

Reporter: How come these attacks occur in the midst of very tight security around the oil and gas installations in the region.

Hon. Randolph: It will definitely be a mystery to anyone that the security forces in the various communities are solely concerned about protecting the infrastructures and installations where the multinationals are resident. What I am telling you is that there is only security for the people who are responsible for the exploring and expropriation of natural resources in Bonny Island and not for the ordinary people who even own the land that hosts these activities.

Since the last 8months there have been several attacks which have led to the loss of many lives and properties especially on the water ways, and I will provide you with records and dates of these activities which till date has not attracted the attention of the various security authorities in the state.

On the 6th of March 2017 there were attacks on 2 fishing boats and also on the 11th of March too. The fishermen lost there boats and means of livelihood to these bandits. Sea piracy has been on the rise as the Navy patrol team is never sighted despite the presence of an active naval base I Bonny Island.

In January alone there were more than 12 recorded attack incidences where there are at least 3 attacks per week, and unfortunately one of the victims happens to be my son.

In December alone 6 people drowned after they were thrown into the sea by pirates. The terror seems to have taken another twist on the 30th of August where women were raped and the men battered during another violent pirate attack.

Reporter: But Hon. what has been the reaction of the state governor who is usually described as the chief security officer of the state... (Hon. Randolph cuts in)

Hon. Randolph: Wait a moment, are you aware that that it is the federal government that gives orders to the security agencies as the governor or the national assembly can only urge them to do their job but not mandate them to do their duties? In fact the Rivers state governor Barr. Nyesom Wike recently donated 5 brand new gun boats to the Navy and marine police to provide adequate security to the people in the vulnerable water ways but these equipment have not been used for that purpose. So with these occurrences no one can categorically understand why the Navy, police and other security agencies remain helpless in the midst of this persistent violent attacks on Bonny people. And the same goes to the international oil companies in the communities, they carry out limited CSR's that have little or no effect t on the daily lives of the people and when there is a protest to demand for better welfare the same security forces come out well equipped and prepared to respond to their agitations, because the people have been condemned by these developments to perpetual hunger and death.

Reporter: So what do you think is the way forward to bring a lasting solution to this dangerous trend, or don't you think that the people of Bonny need to exercise patience to enjoy what the people of Ogoni is enjoying in the clean up Ogoni land project to being spearheaded by the Federal government?

Hon. Randolph: I don't really believe that the so called clean up of Ogoni land is anything outside of a Political clean up. As I am speaking to you no body has been mobilised or have you in the press heard of any movement into site by any contractor for the said project? What I think we need in Bonny Island is for the federal government to provide adequate and permanent security for the people of Bonny. As you already know Bonny is very critical to Nigeria because every petrol dollars earned by Nigeria always passes through Bonny but in the same Bonny Island people are in darkness, with no access to clean water and it remains the only local government with no federal road. Any major public infrastructure you see in Bonny is a product of community & multinational companies partnership.