Navy pledges to support police fight maritime crimes

 The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Adm. Ibok-Ete Ibas, has pledged to support the police to tackle crimes in the maritime sector.

Ibas made the pledge when he led a delegation on a courtesy visit to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Solomon Arase, in Abuja on Wednesday. 

``The navy wants to pledge our continued support in ensuring that we develop the necessary cooperation and support to enhance our internal security.

``The relationship that exists between us has improved tremendously and it is my wish that we continue to sustain and maintain it.

``In the past we have instances where our men slug it out, we have realised that we are all working toward a common goal.’’

Ibas noted that it was only under a conducive environment that investors both foreign and local, could invest in Nigeria. 

The naval chief also urged the police to collaborate with the navy in seamanship capacity building.
He, however, expressed concern over the delay in the prosecution of suspected maritime criminals by the police.

``These criminals and suspects have over time taken us for granted because prosecutions that ought to have been carried out were neglected.

``It is on this note that I want to solicit the cooperation of the I-G to ensure that cases that are outstanding are promptly addressed to serve as deterrent to would be criminals.’’

He said it was costly for the navy to continue to keep vessels arrested alongside with their contents.
``If these cases are diligently disposed of we can begin to have a clean environment and reduce cases of illegality in the maritime environment,’’ he stated. 

Arase expressed concern over the state of the marine department of the police, which he blamed on paucity of funds. 

He said that an inventory of boats was being taken with the view to ascertaining the cost of repairing them for use.

The police chief said that the police would leverage on the partnership with the navy to repair the boats.
Arase said that most of the robbery attacks that had taken place along coastal states were through the waterways.

He said that the police had been unable to react appropriately to the attacks because the boats were not functional.

On prosecution of suspects, Arase said that a taskforce had been constituted to handle the matter.

He attributed the lack of diligent prosecution of maritime crimes to successive police administrations that failed to build enough synergy with other security agencies.

Arase said that the police would rely on the navy in training and information sharing to improve on internal security management of the force.

He assured that the police would also collaborate with other sister agencies as the police could not fight crimes alone.