Claims operations backed court judgments
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
An organisation called ‘Nigerian Merchant Navy’, weekend appealed to the Federal Government on support to combat maritime insecurity across the country.
The appeal was made by the chief of the ‘Nigerian Merchant Navy’, Commodore Ichukwu Agaba, at a press conference, saying the force needs patrol vans, rifles, speed boats, salaries, and other operational equipment.
According to Agaba the conference was organized to build the capacity of officers and men of the force for better performance in the discharge of their duties according to law.
He also stressed that their operations are to compliment the effort of the Buhari-led administration in protecting and boosting trade on the nation’s territorial waters and enhancing maritime trade in Africa.
He said: “The Nigerian Merchant Navy has been working for over 15 years now without basic salary and we see it as a duty call to serve our fatherland.
“We have deployed our officers in thousands to Abuja ship base known as a source of information Ship Base Command; Benue State Command known as Signal Ship Base Command; Lagos State known as Search And Rescue/Federal Operational Ship Base Command; Abia state Operational Ship Base Command; Edo state Operational Ship Base Command; Kaduna State Administrative Ship Base Command; Delta State Tactical Boats Operational Command; Bayelsa State Operational Command; Cross River State Protection of Military Load Ship Base Command; River State Operational Command/Sea Training Depot Ship Base Command; and other States in the country.
“Our organization has discovered the roots and hideouts of kidnappers, smugglers, and channel of importing illegal firearms and major locations of illegal oil bunkering including Lagos, Ogun, Bayelsa, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Delta, and River State.
“We deserved to be empowered and equipped with arms and ammunition to collaborate with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the country.”
Meanwhile, he (Agaba) debunked reports that their operations were illegal, which he referred to as alleged judgments in the ‘Nigerian Merchant Navy’s favour.
“The court order in favour of Nigeria Merchant Navy Suit No: FHC/UY/CS/67/2015 restraining anyone, organization, and officers from further invading harassing or performing any act capable of infringing on our fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from further violation of our officers and men.
“And the declaration that the arrest, torture, and detention of any of our trainees, men and officers as unlawful and therefore a violation of our fundamental human rights as protected by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as prayed by the Federal High Court.
“It will be recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the Nigerian Merchant Navy (Coastal Defence Force) to secure the country’s national asset and also create more jobs opportunity on April 20, 2017.
“Also a Federal High Court delivered a judgment in favour of Nigeria Merchant Navy on February 11, 2016, in suit No: FHC/UY/CS/67/2015 which held that the security organization was not operating illegally in Nigeria”, he stated.
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