UNILAG Don Seeks Protection of Fishermen against Niger Delta Militants

Funmi Ogundare 

A professor of Fisheries Biology, University of Lagos, Akoka, Aderonke Lawal-Are, has called on the government to ensure the enforcement of law and order that will protect fishermen from being attacked by pirates, militants and agitators especially in the Niger Delta area.

The move, she said, will go a long way in ensuring food security for the country.

Lawal-Are made this call recently at the 17th inaugural lecture titled, ‘The Carcinologist Expedition: Decoding the Mysteries of Coastal Explorers’, of the institution, which she delivered. 

She explained that a lot of fish farmers are having challenges in the Niger Delta area, where fish and shrimps are bred, so they are unable to fish.

Speaking with journalists, she expressed regret that food security is under threat as poachers and pirates come in the night in boats to rob the institution of fish, crabs, and shrimps, as well as the facilities used for culturing these aquatic animals.

Lawal-Are said, “We used to have more trawlers going to Niger Delta to fish, but now there are are less trawlers going there because of these agitators. The fish farmers are being attacked and killed. If the government will help with the enforcement of law and order, it will encourage food security for the nation.

“At the faculty of Science in UNILAG,  poachers come in with boats at night, and once they see the site of a culture, they remove the bars and blocks and go away with all the shrimps and crabs being cultured, and even take away all the pumping machines and aerators being used for the culture. They destroy our research in the process.”

The don also expressed concern about environmental degradation and its negative impact on marine life, saying that when waste is dumped uncontrollably in the lagoon, it will affect the aquatic animals on which humans feed.

Lawal-Are noted that the government, in consultation with the Federal Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Ministry of Agriculture, researchers, fishermen, stakeholders, and artisans involved in crab capture, can make policies on boat licensing, mesh size regulations, and trap-setting crabs on the Lagos lagoon complex, as the crabs can be subjected to the same management and conservation practices.

She described her course of study as an area that is yet understudied because a lot of students are unaware of the opportunities they will get from Marine Studies.

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