Nigerians fear escalation of situation
By Lukman Akintola
Nigerians have expressed their concern over fresh reports of an increase in the spate of illegal fishing on the nation’s territorial waters by foreign trawlers, with suggestions that things should not be allowed to degenerate in such a way as to open up yet another needless theater of conflict.
This is coming even as the Federal Government has reportedly ordered the Nigerian Navy to stop foreign trawlers that fish in the nation’s territorial waters illegally.
It will be recalled that some communities in the coastal communities in the Niger Delta had recently sent a save-our-souls message to the the government to save them from foreign trawler owners who engage in indiscriminate fishing on Nigerian waters.
The message, sent to the President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), lamented the activities of the foreigners, who are reportedly, very heavily armed and attack Nigerian fishermen at will.
Responding at the weekend, Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, at an interactive session with stakeholders in Yenagoa, said Nigeria would not tolerate foreign fishermen without permission.
The minister disclosed that the Presidency had ordered the Chief of Naval Staff to stop the intruders with immediate effect.
Senator Lokpobiri advised people of the region to invest in farming, stating that the Bank of Industry and Agricultural Development Bank would provide loans for them.
And in a related development, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence, Sa’ad Abubakar III has distanced the Nigerian Fulani community from the spate of herdsmen attacks on farming communities across the country, asserting that the culprits were foreign invaders.
He however counselled that dialogue was yet the only way to resolve the conflicts.