The Nigerian Navy has constituted a court martial to try three of its personnel allegedly involved in the vandalism and theft of equipment from one of the property confiscated from ex-militant, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, in Warri.
The outgoing Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) the Central Naval Command (CNC), Rear Admiral Saleh Usman, who disclosed this to journalists at the end of a farewell parade organised in his honour at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta base in Warri on Monday added that the Navy had concluded its investigation into the matter.
The Navy chief, however, assured that the suspects were going to face justice as required, adding that there is no need for fears that the force might give undue protection to the suspects. He said if they are found guilty, they would be dismissed and handed over to the police for further civil prosecution.
“The facility was seized by the federal government and the Navy has been taking care of the place. We deployed officers and men to the place. We also informed the Police in the general area to put an eye on it. Some people were caught. Those who are our personnel are already undergoing court martial. The civilians have been handed over to the appropriate authority,” he said.
“We all know that there is no institution without bad eggs. To ensure the image of the Navy is not soiled, we have instituted a martial committee to try the suspects. They are currently in detention now, so if after their trial and they are found guilty, we will dismiss and hand them over to the police for prosecution.
“In the next two weeks, the court martial will start sitting and the outcome of the trial will be made public, that I can assure you. We will not cover anybody up. We have our integrity to protect too,” he said.
Taking a review of his time as the FOC of the Central Naval Command, Usman observed that some achievements were recorded, especially in the fight against oil theft and illegal oil refining, as well as in keeping the area under his command safe for maritime and other lawful activities.
“The Central Naval Command Area of Responsibility is notorious for a lot of illegal activities such as crude oil theft, illegal bunkering, piracy and sea robbery.
“The Command under my watch confronted these illegalities through constant patrols of the waterways and creeks by the bases and ships. The efforts of units under my command have helped tremendously in curtailing these menace including threats to oil platforms and installations,” he added.
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