Marine: Lack of diligence has cost us many court cases

The Nigerian Navy says it has lost many lawsuits over detained vessels due to non-diligent prosecution.

Awwal Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff, said this in an interview with Channels Television on Monday.

He said the navy does not have the constitutional authority to prosecute maritime offenders and as a result has lost business on detained vessels.

“In carrying out our law enforcement and maritime policy duties, the Nigerian Navy arrests many criminals for committing offenses in our maritime domain. However, unlike other law enforcement agencies with prosecuting rights, we cannot prosecute violators,” he said.

“To this end, the Nigerian Navy has lost many cases on arrested vessels due to non-diligent prosecution because we have the exhibits. And to keep the exhibitions, it costs us huge logistical needs that are not budgeted.

Gambo also said the Nigerian Navy stands to benefit from a portion of the revenue from the maritime assets recovered after the sale.

“For this purpose, we are liaising with the office of the attorney general of the federation, so that when such ships or maritime offenders are prosecuted, the proceeds of the sale of crime, the Nigerian Navy will benefit from a portion so that the resources you have used to ensure that these coins are safe, and then handed over to the Nigerian government, so that we benefit from this seizure or sale so that it also improves our operations,” he said. .

“Furthermore, we find endless trial periods for maritime crimes which prolong litigation, and several derelict vessels are across Nigerian Navy bases. It costs money to maintain these assets because sometimes through accidental occurrences some of these maritime offenders may be released due to technicalities in court and then you may have to present these exhibits, so you can’t even afford to waste a liter of crude oil. that are loaded onto the container barge that are in your care.

“The Federation Attorney General’s Office is on board with this and is making efforts to ensure we are provisioned to care for these assets ahead of final prosecution. And of course we are working on how the Nigerian Navy can be allowed to prosecute maritime offenders in court because of the obvious which is of course: we make the arrest and we know the exhibits. »

Recently, the Navy confirmed the arrest of the MV HEROIC IDUN, a supertanker, by Equatoguinean forces for alleged theft of crude oil in Nigeria.

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