Akwa Ibom Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong has advocated recruitment of repentant sea pirates into the Nigeria’s security intelligence network.
This advocacy might have borne out what gave birth to the rehabilitation, deradicalisation and subsequent recruitment of some repentant Boko Haram members into some Armed Forces in the country.
Ememobong made the call Thursday in his office in Uyo, when participants of the Naval Warfare Course 5 of the Naval War College, Nigeria paid him a courtesy call as part of their study tour of the state.
He called on the Federal Government to proactively enlist members of the host communities in the fight against sea robbery for maritime safety.
The commissioner equally advocated enforcement of territorial boundaries for fishing for the benefit of the locals and targeted education for members of the coastal communities to enable them to meet requirements for managerial positions in the maritime industry in line with Federal character stipulations.
On the theme of the Study tour Curbing Sea Robbery, Towards Enhancing Socio- economic Development in AKS, Ememobong outlined the effects of sea robbery on the socio-economic lives of the people, and unearthed the causes of the societal ill in nipping the menace in the bud.
He argued that if gun combats and killings have so far not been able to conquer sea robbery, it was therefore expedient to think outside the box- away from conventional methods, by adapting other measures that would have long-term success in the fight towards ensuring maritime safety for the people in the coastal communities.
The Information Chief listed causes of sea robbery to include inability of host communities to legitimately participate in maritime activities; lack of quality education, self awareness and consciousness by members of host communities, lack of effective community engagement and growing unemployment in the society.
He, therefore, campaigned for targeted education for the people in the coastal communities, end to illegal fishing across territorial boundaries by high level fishing trawlers, which deprive coastal dwellers of means of livelihood; effective community engagements to enable people in the coastal areas to be actively involved in the security of their water ways as well as open punishments for culprits to serve as deterrent.
According to him, Akwa Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel has invested heavily in ensuring maritime safety and curbing sea robbery through such avenues as inclusion of Rural and Riverine development, inauguration of Ibom 3,000 project to train youths on skills and technology needed in the maritime industry and other gainful businesses, proscription of cultism and all cult-related activities and empowerment of youths in Agriculture, ICT, SMEs, among others.
Others are the installation of Cold chain facilities in coastal communities to boost fish processing, community engagements for Social Re-orientation, jingles on Radio and Television to create awareness on societal ill, live Radio/Television programmes to inculcate ethical values in youths as well as the creating a legal framework to fight the initiation of secondary school students into cultism.
Earlier, Brigadier General A. A. W. Hassan, the team leader, had said the visit was necessary because Ministry of Information and Strategy is critical in providing information on the maritime environment of the state.
Hassan said it was part of the course programme for participants to visit a coastal state in the federation to focus on contemporary security challenges in the creeks and waterways using Akwa Ibom as a good example of such a state in Nigeria.
He said the team is made of Faculty members, Directing staff and 22 participants from the Nigeria Navy and Air Force.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mr. Inyang Jameson thanked the visitors for acknowledging Akwa Ibom as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria and a fast developing one in the country.
One of the participants, Wing Commander F.D. Stephen commended the Information Commissioner for giving them the desired information on the theme of their study tour of the state.