By Sumaila Ogbaje
The Nigerian Navy (NN) has raised concern over the proliferation of fake maritime security outfits using uniforms and accoutrements semblance of the navy in the South-South.
The Director of Information, NN, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, in a statement in Abuja, described the outfits as fake and illegal.
Ayo-Vaughan said the impostors and self-acclaimed maritime security outfits made use of naval uniforms and accoutrements to deceive, harass, intimidate and defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
He said that some of the outfits would go as far as selling recruitment forms to the public and even conduct secret recruitment exercises and training.
According to him, the activities of those impostors and miscreants are on the rise, notwithstanding the proscription order of the Federal Government official Gazette No. 58 Vol 100 titled “the Dissolution and Proscription of Certain Associations Order, 2013” banning all such firms/outfits.
“The Order in Paragraph 2 states that ‘As from the commencement of this Order, the dissolved and proscribed associations shall not be formed into any new associations by whatever name or title, within the meaning of this Order.
“Suffice to state that the NN in the past, had arrested and handed over for prosecution, members of some of these outlawed organisations.
“Nevertheless, their illegal activities have continued unabated in some parts of the country, particularly the South-South geopolitical zone.”
Naval spokesperson said some proscribed maritime outfits operating illegally in the nation were Nigerian Merchant Navy, Nigerian Merchant Navy Coastal Defence Force and Nigerian Coast Guard, Merchant Navy Maritime Academy.
Others, according to him, are the Nigerian Merchant Navy Coast Guard Security and Safety Corps, Maritime Security Agency as well as Nigerian Maritime Law Enforcement Agency, amongst others.
He said the proliferation of the illegal outfits was worrisome and might worsen the scourge of insecurity in the country with likely grave impact on national security.
Ayo-Vaughan said it had become necessary to notify the public and appeal for caution, urging public to forward information about the impostors and illegal outfits to the navy to facilitate their arrest.
He said the naval operatives, in conjunction with other maritime law enforcement agencies, would continue to maintain vigilance with a view to locating, apprehending and prosecuting them in accordance with the laws of the land.
“Members of the public are thus enjoined to report any suspected impostor or fake maritime security personnel to the nearest police station and/or naval base.
“In addition, members of the public are advised not to patronise or purchase entry/recruitment forms from these proscribed outfits.
“Report suspicious behaviour of any group of persons or organisations who claim to be personnel of the NN or who are found dressed in or in possession of naval uniforms and accoutrements or similar uniforms and accoutrements, including those conducting fake recruitment and naval training.
“The Nigerian Navy does not sell entry/recruitment forms to the public as is the practice of some of these fraudsters.
“Hence, anyone selling recruitment forms is not a naval personnel but an impostor.
“The perpetrators of these illegalities are warned that the Nigerian Navy as statutorily empowered, will leave no stone unturned in her bid to secure the maritime environment for enhanced security of lives and properties.”
It will also secure the conduct of legitimate maritime commerce as well as related economic activities in the territorial waters. (NAN)