Abductors of five maritime workers demanding huge money, MWUN laments

July 22, 2021
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Four days after suspected sea pirates kidnapped five of its members in Rivers State, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has lamented that the money being demanded by the kidnappers is too much for the union to pay.

The union, therefore, warned that if nothing is done by the Rivers State government and security agencies ‘anytime soon’ to release their members, they will be forced to shut down the Rivers Port in Port Harcourt and Onne port.

Recall that five members of the MWUN including three other persons were kidnapped in a passenger boat along the Kula-Abonema River while travelling to Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital on Monday.

Speaking with newsmen, on Thursday, Vice President General of MWUN, Comrade Francis Bunu, said the abductors have established contact with the leadership of the union demanding a huge sum, which he refused to disclose.

“They (abductors) have contacted us, but we cannot disclose the amount and we have told them that we don’t have such money. We have been paying countless times but enough is enough. We are tired. We know how much we have lost to pirates. We are just mere port workers, so why are we seen as the cash cow for kidnappers?

“We have told the government of River State and all security agencies that if nothing is done to release our members that were kidnapped on Monday, we are going to withdraw all our services from River State,” he said.

Bunu decried the spate of insecurity on the Port Harcourt waterways where activities of sea pirates had led to incessant abduction of waterways commuters, killing and raping of women.

He noted that the Rivers State government is not doing enough in securing the waterways. Bunu added that members of the union have always been at the receiving end with huge sums paid as ransom to sea pirates.

He added that insecurity has been a major challenge on why the ports in Rivers State have remained underutilized, charging security agencies to step up their surveillance on the waterways to curb the menace of pirates.

“The issue of kidnapping has been happening too often and our members are often the target. Enough is enough. We know how much our members are suffering because the two ports in River State are not working as a result of insecurity in the waterways. A female member who is among those kidnapped had 13 boats but now she is left with just two because of the activities of these pirates.

“To do business in Rivers State is 10 times costlier than doing business in Lagos. What are our security agencies doing? What is the job of the Navy and Marine police? Everybody must do their job, if not, we are going to withdraw our services,” he warned.

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Abductors of five maritime workers demanding huge money, MWUN laments

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