By yemie adeoye
Following the arrest of the Director-General of Nigerian Merchant Navy Maritime Accademy, Commodore Aderemi Olatinwo, by men of the Nigerian Navy, the Academy has urged the Federal Government to wade into the issue and order the immediate release of its DG.
Speaking with Vanguard in Lagos , spokesperson of the Academy, Lt. Sunday Adelani, described the development as ‘callous and wicked’.
He said: “For anybody or group of persons to tarnish the image of a noble institution like the Merchant Navy, especially in view of its strategic importance to the Nations economy is callous and wicked.”
He said the institute had been existing since 1914 and her activities are recognised by the Federal Government.
“The Nigerian National Shipping Line was then the bases of funding and training for the Merchant Navy,” he added.
The Nigerian Navy, on the other hand, was seconded from the Merchant Navy. In 1956 200 men were taken from the Nigerian Merchant Navy to form what is today known as the Nigerian Navy. The Nigerian Navy then inherited some of the uniforms, structures and equipment of the Nigerian Merchant Navy just as men were seconded from the Nigerian Police Force to other security Agencies like thye Customs, State Security Service (SSS) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yet not one of these agencies have asked the Nigerian Police to change its uniform like the Navy would want us to do”.
Adelani further noted that the Nigerian Merchant Navy Maritime Academy is a noble establishment formed with the most sincere interest for the training and re-training of Merchant Navy personnel to help restore the glory of the Maritime sector.
He also urged the Nigerian Navy to desist from the unnecessary witch-hunting of the Nigerian Merchant Navy as it remains a legal establishment in the country and should rather see it as a sister organisation that can help restore the maritime sector to its secured glory.
“The shameful incidence of the13 containers filled with ammunitions and intercepted at the Tincan Ports in Lagos could have been apprehended at sea if there was a functional Coast Guard in the Country and this are the kind of services the Nigerian Merchant Navy proffering to the Nation, and the likes of Commodore Aderemi Olatinwo should be celebrated for using his own resources to set up an Academy simply because of the Dearth of Merchant Navy Officers in the Country”. He enthused.