The Nigerian Navy (NN) says it has noted with dismay the unscrupulous activities of some impostors and self-acclaimed maritime security outfits who make use of naval uniforms and accoutrements including uniforms that resemble naval uniforms to deceive, harass, intimidate, and defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
Some of these outfits go as far as selling recruitment forms to the public and even conduct secret recruitment exercises and training.
The activities of these impostors and miscreants are observed to be on the rise notwithstanding the proscription order of the Federal Government of Nigeria 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”.
Commodore A.O Ayo-Vaughan, Director of Information, Nigerian Navy in a statement issued on Friday said suffice to state that the NN in the past had arrested and handed over for prosecution, members of some of these outlawed organizations.
He further said Nevertheless, their illegal activities have continued unabated in some part of the country particularly the South-south geopolitical zone.
He explained that some of the proscribed maritime outfits operating illegally in the nation are Nigerian Merchant Navy, Nigerian Merchant Navy Coastal Defence Force, Nigerian Coast Guard, Merchant Navy Maritime Academy, Nigerian Merchant Navy Coast Guard Security and Safety Corps, Maritime Security Agency as well as Nigerian Maritime Law Enforcement Agency amongst others.
“Pertinently, the proliferation of illegal maritime security outfits is worrisome and may worsen the scourge of insecurity in the country with likely grave impact on national security.
“It has therefore become necessary to notify the public and appeal for caution.”
“Relatedly, information about these impostors and illegal maritime outfits should be forwarded to the NN so as to facilitate the arrest of these miscreants.”
The Director pointed out that, operatives of the NN in conjunction with other Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies will continue to maintain vigilance in order to locate, promptly apprehend and prosecute these miscreants 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, according to him, members of the public are advised not to patronise or purchase entry/recruitment forms from these proscribed outfits.
He called on public to report suspicious behaviour of any group of persons or organizations 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.
Commodore Vaughan stressed that Nigerian Navy does not sell entry/recruitment forms to the public as is the practice of some of these fraudsters, emphasized that 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 and for the conduct of legitimate maritime commerce as well as related economic activities.” He stated.