Operatives of the Marine Police Command have arrested four suspected stowaways who boarded a Malaysia bound cargo ship.
The suspects were arrested following intelligence information availed the Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG), Maritime Police Command, Muhammed Katsina.
The suspects -Ahmed Azeez (24), Tunde Yagba (33), Ajose Kehinde (33) and Sunday Adewale (25) were tracked by the intelligence group of the Amphibious Ambush Squad (AAS) led by the officer-in-charge of Marine Command, Ben Ogungbure, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP).
Parading three of the suspects before journalists on Tuesday, Katsina said Adewale was in the hospital receiving treatment for ulcer
He said the suspects were tracked 23 hours after they had departed, adding that upon interrogation, the command discovered they have travelled to various countries illegally but were deported.
He described the arrest as positive fallout of the Basic Marine Operation Course (BMOC) undertaken by 39 policemen at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Quorra.
Katsina said: “Upon my assumption of office as AIG Maritime, I made a pledge to empower a wide range of security architecture to cover our maritime environment, the waterways and littoral communities.
“Now, we are gradually dominating the maritime environment through our network of intelligence, which is very active.
“In this matter, it’s a case of self human trafficking and stowaway of four young Nigerians who conspired with a criminal motive to travel out of the country without proper documentation.
“The suspects, all indigenes of Snake Island Village behind Tin Can Island Port, Lagos, conspired with an intent to commit felony. They stole a canoe under the cover of darkness and paddled to a Malaysian-bound cargo ship MV Maersk Casablanca.
“The vessel was berthed at Tin Can Island Port and trespassed into the vessel. They dived into the water and sneaked through the propeller into the manhole, where they hid themselves in a small compartment.
“It happened that 23 hours after the ship had sailed out, my intelligence group from the Amphibious Ambush Squad (AAS) alerted me of the presence of some strange elements in the vessel.
“We quickly alerted our operatives at Onne Port, in collaboration with the men of the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) who played a commendable role and they were found and arrested.”
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