The Nigerian Merchant Navy (Coastal Defence Force) has called on the federal government to empower the force with patrol vans, rifles, speed boats, salaries and also their operational equipment.
Speaking at a conference organized to upgrade the skills of its members and to reposition them to better discharge their functions effectively in accordance with the law, the chief of the Nigerian Merchant Navy, Commodore Ichukwu Agaba stressed the role of the force to combat piracy, which he said will in turn compliment the current administration efforts to boost maritime trade and unlock the vast maritime potential of Africa.
Agaba also seek the approval of the force operational letters including promotion, appointment letters and remuneration.
Recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the Nigerian Merchant Navy (Coastal Defence Force) to secure the country’s national asset and also create more jobs opportunity on April 20, 2017.
Also a Federal High Court delivered a judgment in favour of Nigeria Merchant Navy on the February 11, 2016 in suit No: FHC/UY/CS/67/2015 which held that the security organization was not operating illegally in Nigeria.
Agaba said that the Nigerian Merchant Navy have been working for over 15 years now without basic salary ‘’and we see it as a duty call to serve our father land.’’
‘’We have deployed our officers in thousands to Abuja ship base known as source of information ship base command, Benue state command known as Signal Ship Base Command, Lagos state known as Search And Rescue/Federal Operational Ship Base Command, Abia state Operational Ship Base Command, Edo state Operational Ship Base Command, Kaduna state Administrative Ship Base Command, Delta state Tactical Boats Operational Command, Bayelsa state Operational Command, Cross River State Protection of military load ship base command, River state Operational Command/Sea Training Depot Ship Base Command, Imo, Ogun, Lagos state and other states in the country.
‘’Our organization has discovered the roots and hides out of kidnappers, smugglers, and channel of importing illegal fire arms and major locations of illegal oil bunkery including Lagos, Ogun, Bayelsa, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Delta and River State. We deserved to be empowered and equipped with arms and ammunition to collaborate with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the country.
‘’The court order in favour of Nigeria Merchant Navy Suit No: FHC/UY/CS/67/2015 restraining anyone, organization and officers from further invading harassing or performing any act capable of infringing our fundamental right as guaranteed by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from further violation of men.
‘’And declaration that the arrest, torture and detention of any of our trainees, men and officers as unlawful and therefor a violation of our fundamental human right as protected by the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria as prayed by the federal high court,’’ he said.