Navy Laments Slow Prosecution Of Marime Crime Suspects
THE Nigerian Navy has said the fight against oil theft and enhanced maritime security was yielding results but lamented the snail-pace prosecution of arrested suspects of maritime crime. At a press briefing in Abuja to mark the 59th Anniversary of the Nigerian Navy (NN), the Chief of Policy and Plans of the NN, Rear Admiral Johnson Olutoyin, said that the force has arrested 84 vessels and their crew in the last one year, beside busting over 120 illegal oil refineries and apprehending barges and wooden boats, among others.
He revealed that in collaboration with other security agencies comprising the Joint Task Force’s (JTF’s) and Operation Pulo, “over 120 illegal oil refineries, 29 barges, 93 large wooden boats and 1,259 auxiliary equipment were destroyed within the same period.”
Olutoyin noted that “the arrested vessels on which preliminary investigations have been completed by the NN, has been handed over to the appropriate agencies for prosecution.
Thus there has been a significant reduction in incidences of crude theft in our waters”, he said.
Noting that this was one of the major achievements of the current Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Usman Jubrin, from the enforcement component in one of his three key areas of policing operation, fleet recapitalisation and exercise/operations, Olutoyin said the snail-pace prosecution of the suspects has remained a major challenge in the fight against maritime crime.
“Unfortunately, the diligent and conclusive prosecution of suspects in the law courts by the prosecuting agencies has been a major challenge to the NN and other security agencies operating in our waters.
“So many of these suspects have been arrested and sent for prosecution, but because of the slow process, between three and five months, the same suspects are back in our waters perpetrating the same act they were arrested for. This is our biggest challenge in the fight against maritime related crimes.”