The Lagos State Police Command has detained 108 people for purportedly impersonating Nigerian Navy soldiers and officials.
On Wednesday, November 10, the suspects were apprehended during a raid on their training camp in the Ogudu-Sanfield area of the state.
The commanding commander of the training camp, Sunday Dakare, was also arrested, according to Lagos state Commissioner of Police Hakeem Odumosu. The suspects were said to be operating under the guise of the Nigerian Merchant Navy, better known as the Coastal Defence.
The police commissioner said;
“On November 10, 2021, around 11am, the Lagos State Police Command raided the illegal training camp of the Merchant Navy located in the Ogudu-Sandfield area, Lagos State, and arrested the Commanding Officer, Sunday Dakare, 47, together with 107 suspects currently on training.
“I wish to inform you that there has been credible actionable intelligence on the illegal activities of the Merchant Navy following which the command embarked on intensive surveillance of the camp and its activities therein. Consequent upon intensive monitoring of the camp and its operators, the command carried out a well-coordinated overt operation at the training camp in the early hours of today.
“During the raid, which was coordinated by the operations department of the command, the following items were recovered: several military accoutrements, including camouflage badges of ranks, a flag, a signboard and ID cards. Other items recovered include recruitment letters, promotion letters, a portrait of the commanding officer, two motorcycles, one plasma TV, three cutlasses, criminal charms and other items.”
Odumosu warned residents to be aware of people impersonating as military personnel in order to carry out unlawful operations in the state, noting that the Nigerian Merchant Navy had been disbanded by the Federal Government.
He also disclosed that the organization had been functioning illegally since 2005.
The commissioner added;
“This trend portends danger for our nation and a threat to peace and security. It, therefore, behoves us as a law enforcement agency to enforce the law banning activities of the illegal military outfit. I want to use this medium to warn other individuals or groups still operating such illegal outfits in any part of the state to close it forthwith.
“The police will not hesitate to clamp down on them and their operators and bring them to book.”
Kehinde Islamiat who happens to one of the suspects told newsmen that her father told her to join the operation.
“I don’t know how much was paid; I am not even sure he paid and I have been with them for seven months. We are still expecting the Federal Government to pay our salary. Everything about this stuff is online; we are expecting the government to answer our prayers for our rifles and patrol vans.”
The arrested commanding officer of the camp, Dakare said;
“We just got small shanties where we can relax; we have no block, we have been there for over 10 years, we have been recruiting ourselves and waiting for the Federal Government.
“Just like civil defence, we have been waiting for the Federal Government; we have done first and second reading and the third reading is on, so we are waiting; that was why we gathered ourselves there.”
Promotional letters awarded to some of the persons recruited into the scheme were among some of the exhibits recovered. One Rear Admiral I. Agaba signed one of the letters dated August 21, 2021. It reads;
“Abonyi Kingsley. C. promoted from the rank of Lieutenant to the rank of Lieutenant-Commander.”
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