A’Ibom govt flags off fisheries protection unit

By Paulinus Nta, A’Ibom

The Akwa Ibom State Government through the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development has flagged off the Fisheries Protection Unit, in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area, to strengthen the security of the waterways.

Unveiling brand new speed boats, on Tuesday, 14th May 2024, the Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development, DDrOffiong Offor said the exercise became necessary to tackle security challenges as well as the safety of fisherfolk along the State’s waterways.

Offor, who noted that the exercise was carried out in collaboration with the Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways, appreciated Gov. Umo Eno for approving the Fisheries Protection Unit to ensure a safe business environment for fishermen and combating the issues of security in the waterways.

She commended the Commissioner for Internal Security and Waterways, Gen. Koko Essien, the State Commandant, Nigerian Security & Civil Defence Corp, Eluwade Eluyelmi and others for working as a team towards enhancing the security of the State’s waterways.

The Commissioner stated that the setting up of the Security Outfit is in fulfilment of the ARISE Agenda, which has Agriculture Revolution, Rural Development, and Security Management, at the front burner and expressed optimism that the gesture will be a great blessing to Akwa Ibomites.

In his remarks, the Commissioner for Internal Security and Waterways, Gen. Koko Essien, noted that Akwa Ibom people are engaged in agriculture and fishing as their major occupations, since it is a literal State with the longest coastline in Nigeria of about 129 kilometres, hence the need for increased security within the waterways.

Essien, said, that as a serious approach, the State government has already procured 14 gunboats to secure our waterways, adding that his Ministry will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development to support fishing activities.

“We will work with the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development and fishermen. Call on any of the Joint Maritime Operations, in the event of any security threat, they will respond promptly,” he assured.

Also speaking, the State Commandant Nigerian Security & Civil Defence Corp, Eluwade Eluyelmi, applauded Governor Umo Eno for the opportunity to work with the Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development as well as Internal Security and Waterways, saying the command has capable hands in security management.

Eluwade assured that the concerted effort of the team will bring about safer waterways, devoid of casualties to enhance the activities of fishermen.

The occasion featured the test running of boats, marking the commencement of the operations of the fishing protection unit, by the Commissioners for Agriculture & Rural Development, Internal Security & Waterways, Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Mary Bassey, and Directors, among others.

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