The Nigerian Navy has begun massive crackdown on fake operatives who specialize in using fake naval uniforms and accoutrements to deceive, harass, intimidate and defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
This was revealed by the Director of Naval Information, Cor Ezekobe, in a statement issued on Tuesday, saying that there were many “unauthorized and largely proscribed maritime outfits” who have continued to tarnish the image of the Nigerian Navy.
These outfits according to the Naval spokesman include: “Nigerian Merchant Marine, Nigerian Merchant Navy Corps, Global College of Marine and Technology, Merchant Navy Maritime Academy as well as Nigeria Merchant Navy and Maritime Law Enforcement Agency among others.”
Ezekobe further stated: “In view of the fragile security situation in the country, particularly in the Niger Delta area, the activities of these illegal and proscribed maritime security organisations have posed great danger to the frantic efforts by the Nigerian Navy and sister security services to mitigate the security challenges in the country.
“Consequently, operatives of the Nigerian Navy in conjunction with other security agencies have maintained red alert vigilance to ensure that the naval impostors are promptly apprehended.”
The Naval spokesman said that the efforts to rid the country of fake maritime security agencies paid off on Friday October 18, “when one Mr Allen Benson Edema was arrested dressed in the uniform and accoutrements of a naval commodore, (equivalent to a Brigadier General) within the precinct of the National Assembly Abuja.”
He stated that the fake naval commodore was arrested alongside another suspect also dressed up in naval uniform, and is alleged to be the brain behind a fake maritime security organisation that goes by the name Nigerian Merchant Navy Corps which has also been proscribed.
“In a related development, another 6 persons were arrested by operatives of the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Badagry on 15 November 2016 for impersonating as personnel of the Nigerian Navy,” Ezekobe further stated.
“The suspects who were dressed in naval uniform with rank badges of the Nigerian Navy claimed to be members of another proscribed Maritime security organisation called Nigerian Merchant Marine.
“The suspects were arrested at Dadi Village in Badagry LGA of Lagos State.”
The statement advised the general public to report “any suspicious behaviour of anyone or group of persons who claim to be personnel of the Nigerian Navy or found to be dressed in naval uniform and accoutrement.”
The Naval spokesman reaffirmed the resolve of the Nigerian Navy “to deal decisively with anyone who might be contemplating to test the will of the Service in checkmating activities of criminal gangs and impostors in the maritime domain.”