Abuja - Commercial fishing firms in Nigeria have been discouraged from paying ransoms to pirates that kidnap their trawlers.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba, made the appeal to the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association following a meeting with the association’s Joseph Obero in Abuja.
Ezeoba said the country has a responsibility to adopt the measures to discourage paying of ransom to the kidnappers because this would perpetuate the vice in the country.
“The challenges you (trawler association) have highlighted are common knowledge to all of us. It happens unfortunately within our maritime space, not because we want it, but because in our society, we have people who take pride in committing this crime.
“When you pay this ransom, you have opened a floodgate for the vice to continue. It then becomes business and a means of livelihood for the abductors."
"I understand the peculiar circumstances, under which these things happen. I know that in the past people have been taken hostage, some were so unfortunate to have been killed, but it is important that we should as much as possible try not to encourage these things to continue to happen by quickly responding to the kidnappers’ requests,” Ezeoba said.
Kidnapping are commonplace in the Nigerian commercial fishing sector.
Pirates attack vessels with sophisticated arms and kidnap crew members and demand high ransoms from the shipping companies, a departure from earlier practices whereby they killed their victims and stole valuables belonging to crew members on board vessels.
- CAJ News