The Nigerian Navy has warned that it would soon commence a crackdown on groups impersonating the service in some coastal communities.
The Director of Information of the Navy, Commodore Christian Ezekobe, said that the dubious activities of the criminal groups were impacting negatively on the image of the service.
Commodore Ezekobe said that the fake organisations had been recruiting civilians and dressing them in the uniforms of the Navy to deceive unsuspecting members of the public.
According to him, the organisations involved in the criminality included the Nigerian Merchant Navy, the Merchant Naval Force, Nigerian Sea Scout and others.
He noted that the Navy would come after any group whose actions were found to be inimical to the peace and security in the nation’s maritime domain.
“In view of the current security challenges in the country associated with militancy, cult-related activities, banditry, piracy, sea robbery, kidnapping and other unwholesome activities, the Nigerian Navy will henceforth massively crack down on any group that poses as a security risk to the maritime domain and its own operations”.
Ezekobe said the Navy had arrested 16 suspects including one Sunday (surname withheld) who was allegedly picked up while on illegal escort duty and one Lucky (surname withheld) who allegedly claimed to be a naval personnel at Agbara, Ogun State.
He said the Navy had already dismantled one of such groups, the Merchant Naval Force, which was discovered in Badagry area of Lagos State.
“Navy carried out the raid in response to reports of criminal extortion, intimidation and harassment of unsuspecting members of the public including agents of government by ‘supposed’ naval personnel in the area.”
He urged parents to advise their children against being deceived by those impersonating the Navy as the service would deal decisively with such groups in accordance with the law.