Navy: foreigners behind most crimes on Nigerian waters
•European naval vessel impounded
The Navy has said piracy, oil theft and other sea crimes committed in the nation’s maritime domain are mostly perpetuated by foreigners.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command (WNC), Rear Admiral Sanmi Alade, spoke yesterday on the involvement of foreigners in high seas crimes at the command’s headquarters in Lagos when he hosted crew members of a visiting British ship, HMS Iron Duke.
Alade, who said the navy was poised to take full control of the nation’s waterways by ridding them of private security and criminals, added that the waterways should not be a private affair.
He said: “Given the occurrences on our waters, the navy is now set to take complete ownership. A lot of people and nations have interest in our waters for obvious reasons. With the decline in piracy in the Gulf of Eden, it would not be wrong to say that most of the elements have left that area and found their way in the Gulf of Guinea, including our waters.
“Some foreigners have been arrested in our waters for perpetrating illegalities. Most criminality in our waters is carried out by foreigners and not Nigerians.
“The era when the navy had challenges of platforms will soon be over because we will take delivery of some ships before the end of the year and command our waterways. We will take full command once again and there will be no need for private security here and there because our water is not private.
“We have some private security companies registered with the Nigerian Navy. They have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with us, like Ocean Marine Company. We allow them to operate with their vessels. But normally, we attach our personnel to such vessels.”
On the allegation that multi-national oil companies steal crude in Nigeria’s maritime area, Alade said oil theft was not being treated with kid gloves.
According to him, anyone arrested is appropriately dealt with.
Alade said: “Piracy and illegality on the seas are not beyond us. The responsibility of ensuring the security of the Nigerian maritime domain is that of the Nigerian Navy. We are poised to take total control of the Nigerian waters and rid it of any form of illegalities.”
The Commanding Officer, HMS Iron Duke, Commander Tom Tredery said the ship came to Nigeria to work and train with the Nigerian Navy.
He said: “We are looking forward to training and exercising together. The role of the navy is to work together and ensure that that freedom and safety are in place. Our range of training includes navigation, engineering, damage control and fire fighting, boarding party and security operations…”
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