One Nigerian was killed while four Thai nationals were yesterday abducted in Buguma, headquarters of Asari-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State when gunmen attacked the Israeli-run Buguma Mega Fish Farm located in the town.
Also yesterday, the Rivers Peoples’ Forum restated its call for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike over his comments in Port Harcourt last weekend during which he allegedly threatened to unleash violence on the state.
The abducted Thai nationals and two Nigerians are all employees of the fish farm owned by the Rivers State Government.
THISDAY gathered that the victims – six of them – were abducted by the gunmen at about 7.00am on their way to work on the fish farm, managed by Omida Farms, an Israeli company.
The Rivers State commissioner for agriculture, Emma Chindah, told journalists that the six employees were abducted by the hoodlums but that the kidnappers decided to release the two Nigerians midway into the sea.
He said in a bid to escape to safety, one of the two Nigerian workers jumped into the water and drowned.
Chindah, who blamed the situation on the declining security situation in the state, however said the matter had been reported to the police.
He attributed the breakdown of security in the area to the sense of boldness that the police authority in the state had recently conferred on criminals, who were hitherto in hiding.
He said: “The hoodlums took six of the workers, including two Nigerians, but they decided to drop the two Nigerians among their victims, probably in a bid to prevent being easily traced. Unfortunately, one of them tried to escape, jumped into the water and drowned, the other one managed to swim to safety.
“We have reported the matter to the police, but what must be emphasised is that these hoodlums feel emboldened to do this because they believe the police are now their friend. You will remember when so-called militants protested on the streets of Port Harcourt in support of (Police Commissioner Joseph) Mbu. Now they have the idea that they have the police on their side and that they can resume crimes without consequences. Buguma had been calm before now; you can see that the situation is gradually degenerating into something sad.”
He said the kidnappers had not reached out to anybody since the incident occurred.
When contacted for confirmation, the spokesperson of the Rivers police command, Angela Agabe (DSP), said she had heard of the incident from journalists, but was yet to get a formal situation report from the Buguma Divisional Police Officer.
“They (journalists) have been calling me over the matter, but I’m yet to get official confirmation from the DPO. I called his number, but I couldn’t get through, I then sent him a text message. I believe he will send me a sitrep (situation report) when he sees my message,” Agabe said.
Meanwhile, the Rivers Peoples’ Forum said Wike’s threat of violence was dangerous to democracy in the country “and threatens the peace and security of Rivers State and could lead to a breakdown of law and order in the State, if the minister is not checked.”
Wike on Saturday last week, at a Grassroot Democratic Initiative event in Port Harcourt allegedly said he would make life uncomfortable “for those who think that they can destroy Obio-Akpor Local Government Council.”
RPF in a statement signed by its President, Charles Bekwele described the comments of Wike as a direct threat to the good people of Rivers State, “that can lead to a breach of peace and security, and security agencies must now take steps to curtail the excesses of Nyesom Wike.”
Bekwele contined: Nyesom Wike must be arrested and prosecuted now for threatening the lives of Rivers people, for threatening the peace and security of Rivers State. As a matter of fact, his comments are dangerous to our democracy. Wike is a danger to our democracy. Comments like that can easily lead to a breach of peace in the state. The Inspector General of Police and the Director-General, State Security Service must act now to arrest and prosecute Wike for threatening the peace and security of the State. His excesses must be curtailed; Rivers people have had enough of Wike’s shenanigans.
“Wike must be told in clear terms that he cannot threaten the peace and security of Rivers State because he has a political ambition. Wike is very free to pursue whatever ambition he has, but we won’t allow him destroy our peace and security because he (Wike) wants to be governor?”
But the Chairman of PDP in Rivers State, Mr. Felix Obuah, has said that Governor Amaechi has spurned the party’s peace overtures, describing it as unfortunate.
“By this development, the entire Rivers people should be able to read between the lines to know those behind the crisis,” he said in a statement.