BY EVELYN USMAN
LAGOS — The Nigerian Navy, NN, has arrested a man allegedly masquerading as a commander in the service, at Liverpool area of Lagos.
The suspect, Alfred Oniye, who could have passed for a genuine commander to both serving naval personnel and civilians alike, was reportedly arrested by a naval patrol team. The suspect had full naval uniform, identity card and rank.
Parading the suspect, weekend, Executive Officer, NNS Beecroft, Captain James Pindar, said Oniye met his waterloo following the suspicious manner he acknowledged salute from the ratings on patrol. Before he was arrested, he explained that following several complaints received on the likes of Oniye, the Navy commenced a clampdown which had led to several arrests.
Explaining how he was arrested, Pindar said: “The way he acknowledged the greeting gave him away and when asked to identify himself, he said he was the Commanding officer, NNS Pathfinder, Port Harcourt. That again, gave him away because that post is manned by a Commodore, and not a Commander. He is one among several others who has been giving the Navy bad image. We arrested six of such persons recently. We are therefore, warning others to desist because the NN is not the type of service they can impersonate”, he stated.
However on his part the suspect disclosed that he was a Merchant Navy personnel, saying he only identified himself as a Navy Commander to avoid being beaten to stupor by the naval ratings.
According to him, “I alighted from my car for an inspection when I was arrested. I identified myself as a Commander on NNS Pathfinder because I did not want them to kill me. If I had not said that, they would have killed me because immediately I said so, the beating reduced and they brought me to their base.
“ I am not a fake Merchant Navy personnel. I even told them to take me to our directorate in Olodi Apapa area of Lagos to ascertain whether I am a Merchant navy or not.
“I have not committed any crime because this uniform is what Merchant Navy used to colonize us. It was when we were having problem with the Navy that the directorate instructed we changed the appellate to cross.”
Asked where he got the uniform from , he claimed to have bought it from an undisclosed person, while Naval authorities said he would be handed over to the police for prosecution.