Comrade Emmanuel Hart is the President of Youth Coalition For Good Governance, he is from and based in Bonny, Rivers state. He spoke with CHUKU EDITH on the activities of sea pirates, the role played by the Nigerian Navy and Marine police as well as the state of security in Bonny Kingdom, among other issues.
In 2017 you petitioned the Nigeria Navy and marine police over the insecurity on the Bonny waterways.
Yes. That was because of the misappropriation of the gunboats, because the gunboats given to Bonny Kingdom were diverted, those boats were not utilized for the purpose which they were given. In fact, we were wondering what purpose those boats were serving and who they were serving since they were not used for the basis they were provided. So we had to petition them to the National Assembly. The National Assembly did invite them as well as the group that petitioned them which I am heading till date as the president; the Navy high command was also invited and was present during the meeting. At the end of the day, the committee gave a marching order to the Navy to clear the sea of bandits and sea pirates. Bonny is the wealth generating machine of Rivers State. It will not be too much to ask that a little out of that wealth be used to secure the lives and property of the people.
What fruit did your petition yield?
Bonny people saw and enjoyed improved security, drastic security improvement at the waterways. The whole piracy issue died down, it was gradually becoming an issue of the past, an issue of centuries ago. It was that good, issues almost forgotten, all thanks to the petition.
So, what happened? We are still hearing of shootings, killings, robbery and many more on Bonny Waterways?
We are as shocked and disappointed. We are also asking the same question, what happened? Where do these hoodlums that have declared war on Bonny waterways come from? Who are they? We have been calling on government, but you know the I don't care attitude of government, when we call, they say they are on top of the matter. They are always on top of the matter, yet never come down. Bonny people are asking them to please come down to the matter, they should come down, being on top of the matter only makes it heavier than it was, they should tackle it from the down, from the bottom, the root. We are tired of this menace; they are trying to force Bonny people to take laws into their hands as a means of protection. It's unheard of that every week, we keep losing people and properties worth millions, the recent one that just happened, the driver was shot, he was killed and thrown into the water and till date government has never compensated anyone, both those whose loved ones were killed by sea pirates and those who lost their property worth millions to sea pirates at the Bonny water, none has ever been compensated by the government.
These sea pirates, who are they, has any of them been identified?
We don't know, we don't know who they are, we don't know them, we don't know their identity, we don't know them, they are not one of us, they are not, we are very sure that they are not from Bonny.
Bonny youths are engaged, they are busy, they are positively occupied, Bonny youths are gainfully employed, all thanks to BIRA, Bonny Integrated Recruitment Agency, most of the guys who took amnesty were employed by this agency. That is why Bonny is crisis free, all the killings, shootings all over Rivers local government areas, have you heard that Bonny recorded any? The Bonny Integrated centre and of course the wisdom of His Majesty has also boosted security in Bonny. So if one is duly employed, what time will you have to waste in hunting innocent, struggling for survival business men and women?
Don't forget that it is the rat in the house that tells the one in the bush that there is meat in the house and how they can lay hold of it.
Like I told you earlier, Bonny youths are not involved in this, the Navy, Marine Police should please come to our aid and curb the waterways off those hoodlums.
Like I said earlier, Bonny has an agency, though there was a time that only the elders, I mean elderly people were at the helm of affair in that agency, only the elderly ones were appointed to preside over the agency. Since its inception, only our father, Sir Edabelema Hart has been recorded as a youth that has served in that capacity. As a group, we started agitating, appealing for a youth to be brought in to man the place and preside over the affairs as the chairman. Our prayers and appeal was taken serious and put into action by our king, His Royal Majesty, King Edward Asimini Williams Dappa Pepple 111, the Perekule X1, the Amanyanabo and natural ruler of Grand Bonny Kingdom, the Royal Majesty listened to us and granted that request by appointing a youth, Mayor Alidiokuma Hart as the chairman of the agency. From then, we started experiencing tremendous progress like never before.