The Nigerian Navy (NN) has begun massive crackdown on impostors who are using naval uniforms and accoutrements to deceive, harass, intimidate and defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
Naval spokesman, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, who explained the rationale behind the action, said: “The mandate to ensure that any impostor does not go scot-free emanates from the fact that several cases of security breaches and criminal activities involving fake naval personnel have been reported by victims of these unauthorized and largely proscribed maritime outfits namely; 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.
“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 has 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.
“This effort paid off on Friday 18 October 2016 when one Mr Allen Benson Edema was arrested dressed in the uniform and accoutrement of a naval commodore, (equivalent to a Brigadier General) within the precinct of the National Assembly Abuja.
“The fake naval commodore who was arrested along side another suspect also dressed up in naval uniform, is alleged to be the arrow head of 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. 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 above mentioned arrests made between 15 and 18 November 2016, add up to several cases in which operatives of Nigerian Navy and sister security agencies have acted swiftly in apprehending impostors. To this end, the general public is advised to kindly report 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 Nigerian Navy hereby resolves to deal decisibly 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.”