Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, in Lagos on Wednesday arrested and handed over to the police six persons suspected of impersonating Nigerian Navy personnel.
NNS also handed over two vessels allegedly engaged in illicit activities to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for prosecution.
Parading the alleged impersonators, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) of the Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Ilesanmi Alade, said the service would not fold its hands and watch impersonators smear its name.
“The accused were arrested in naval personnel uniform and had identity cards with Nigerian Navy logo as well as other military accoutrements with navy ranks,” Alade said.
He condemned the recent trend of impersonation, especially when navy uniforms were being used to commit crimes, adding that the command was combat ready to deal decisively with such unauthorised persons.
“It is worrisome when people commit all sorts of crime under the guise of being naval personnel, with impression that the unwholesome act was committed by the military,” he said.
He noted that the command would not fold its arms and allow the good name of the Nigerian Navy, which had been in existence since 1956, to be tarnished,
“We are hereby warning these unscrupulous criminals to desist from the act of impersonating naval personnel or prepare to face the full wrath of the law.
“Members of the public should report any person found in military uniform behaving in a manner that is not synonymous with military discipline,” he said.
The Commander, NNS BEECROFT, Commodore Ovenseri Uwadiae, also said that “no individual” could form a navy outfit, adding that throwing a blind eye to their activities was like creating another monster for the country.
In another development, Uwadiae said that the command arrested two vessels, CASHMAN Barge and MV ZAHRA, for carrying 70 tonnes of AGO (diesel) without valid papers.
He said MV Zahra was intercepted at the Lagos offshore by NNS Andoni conveying the products to an unknown destination without valid papers, while Cashman Barge was arrested for using forged documents.
“Cashman Barge was arrested by the naval command when one Samson Yusuf attempted to use the barge to remove 10 metric tonnes of sludge from MT OCEAN with forged naval papers.
“The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Usman Jibrin has declared a zero tolerance for maritime illegalities and the FOC has directed that we should swing into action.
“Our duties are to ensure that maritime illegalities do not thrive and that the command is ready to support genuine businesses which ply their trade on the maritime domain,” Uwadaie said.
He said Yusuf and the barge were handed over to the EFCC as exhibit in order to aid speedy prosecution.