By Godwin Oritse
THE amnesty programme created by the Federal Government may have failed as the fishing trawlingÂ sub-sector of the Nigerian economy has experienced an upsurge inÂ attacks of fishingÂ vessels.
Speaking to Vanguard in Lagos recently, the President of the Nigerian FishingÂ Trawlers Association (NITOA), Mrs Margaret Orakwusi said that immediately the government concluded the amnesty plan, there was a reduction in the attacks on fishing trawlers.
Orakwusi stated the amnesty programme seemed to have failed as members of NITOA have experienced an upsurge in the attacks on their fishing boats.
She noted that recent upsurge in the attacks of its membersâ€™ vessels began in November last year, adding that this has also resulted in the death of crewmen and damage to their boats.
The groupâ€™s president is of the opinion that if an urgent step is not taken to protect the lives and properties of its members, the entire fishing industry in Nigeria might go under permanently.
Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA),Â Mr Temisan Omatseye has said that the attacks on Nigerian fishing vessels are master-minded by foreigners who want to run Nigerians out of the business.
Omatseye stated that the government is very much aware of what is happening in the sector, adding that it is doing everything possible to checkmate these attacks.
He said that plans have been concluded to purchase very fast speed boats that will give these criminals a hot chase whenever an alarm is raised.