By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- FOLLOWING the precarious security situation on the nation’s territorial waters, the traditional ruler of Galadimawa, Garki Chiefdom, Alhaji Musa Barde, yesterday, urged the Federal Government to recognise the Nigerian Merchant Navy to provide protection of lives and property in the country.
Barde who was paid a courtesy visit at his palace by a delegation of the organisation led by Chief of Nigerian Merchant Navy, Commodore Ichukwu Agaba, said the outfit which has been operating a volunteer security organisation will compliment and cover security gaps at the nation’s seaports and sea operations of other security agencies to combat all forms of criminalities.
He said: “The Nigerian Merchant Navy, also called Coastal Defence Force, is a very important security organisation in our nation’s security sector. Personally, I read the background and operations of this organisation and have seen that as a nation we need them in this challenge of insecurity in our country.
“If the federal government will recognise this organisation it will tighten up security at the seaports and also create employment for our youth, therefore prevent them from engaging in criminal activities.
“It is imperative the government consider them and officially make them part of the security system because of they will really help in safeguarding our territorial waters from the grip of criminals and external aggressors.”
The traditional leader also donated an office to the organisation in Abuja for smooth operations as he explained that civilians need to morally, materially and otherwise assist security organisations.
While commending the gesture by the traditional head, Chief, Nigerian Merchant Navy, Commodore Ichukwu Agaba, said the corps will complement the current effort of security agencies for a secured territorial integrity.
“The Nigerian Merchant Navy, also called Nigerian Coastal Defence Force, has been existing and carried out operations during the colonial era and independence, and was also accorded that status of a security agency by Federal High Court on February 11, 2016 in a judgment delivered in favour of Nigerian Merchant Navy as contained in the Nigerian constitution from all forms of violation of its rights.
“We will complement other security agencies’ operations because we are constitutionally saddled with the responsibility to monitor and stop the pollution of Nigerian territorial waters during ship building in docks and ship ways, combat crime as disasters in the seaports, provision of rescue operations, check importation of illegal sophisticated weapons through sea by kidnappers, militants and other criminal activities by lapses in sea security in our nation’s territorial waters, to curb proliferation of small arms, putting a total stop on illegal oil bunkering activities, and other security services”, Agaba stated.