A Ghanian was among 12 suspected stowaways who were arrested on board a Spain bound vessel, MV African Osprey by Naval operatives attached to the NNS Beecroft at Lagos anchorage, the Nigerian Navy said yesterday.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade, who paraded the suspects in Lagos, said the suspects were trying to illegally exit the country onboard the vessel, which was ladened with chemicals and was about to start its journey to Spain when the captain noticed strange movement on board.
The suspects were identified as Boniface Douglass, a Ghanaian and 11 Nigerians — Mustapha Ayinla, Bernard Amadi, Azinabor Gideon, Isaac Delight, Daniel Timothy, Justice Agburum, Anthony Oladipupo, Emma Okon, Idowu Adeyemi, Philip Israel and Holly Osatwie.
Admiral Aladesaid the arrest and subsequent rescue of the stowaways was done in conjunction with personnel of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
“Having established a prima facie against the suspects, they are being handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he said.
The FOC reiterated the navy’s determination to make Nigerian waterways safe for legitimate businesses to thrive and appealed to ship owners and all seafarers to ensure that thorough security checks were conducted onboard prior to their departure from harbor.
The Commanding Officer of the NNS Beecroft, Commodore Uwadiae Ovenseri, said the operation was carried out based on information from the ship that there were suspected stowaways onboard the ship.
“Their intention was to seek greener pastures abroad. Based on that confession, we handed them over to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) for a follow up,” Ovenseri said.
The Assistant Controller of NIS, Lagos Marine Patrol Unit, Mr. Ode Adapoyi, while receiving the stowaways, said the extant Immigration Act of 1915 empowers only the Immigration to determine the nationality of anyone who decides to land or take off from Nigeria.
He said, “It is unfortunate that young Nigerians at the risk of their lives seek for greener pastures but the ones the Navy rescued are fortunate because the less fortunate are thrown overboard by the captain of the vessels on the high sea.”
Source: Daily Trust


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