The Nigerian Navy has declared eight security outfits that are conducting secret recruitment exercises as operating illegally in the country.
It said the illegal outfits are now selling recruitment forms to unsuspecting members of the public and are also conducting secret military training for members, particularly in the South-West and South-South regions.
The Navy said the increasing number of the illegal maritime security outfits and their presence might worsen the state of insecurity in the country.
It named some of the proscribed maritime outfits operating illegally as the Nigerian Merchant Navy, Nigerian Merchant Navy Coastal Defence Force, Nigerian Coast Guard, Merchant Navy Maritime Academy, Nigerian Merchant Navy Coast Guard Security and Safety Corps, Maritime Security Agency as well as Nigerian Maritime Law Enforcement Agency, amongst others.
Director of Information of the Nigerian Navy, Commodore Ayo-Vaughan, in a statement said the self-acclaimed maritime security outfits make use of naval uniforms and accoutrements including uniforms that resemble naval uniforms to deceive, harass, intimidate, and defraud unsuspecting members of the public.
He said the existence of the illegal security outfits if allowed to go unchecked would have grave impact on national security.
According to him, the activities of the impostors and miscreants are observed to be on the rise notwithstanding the proscription order of the Federal Government of Nigeria official Gazette No. 58 Vol 100 titled “the Dissolution and Proscription of Certain Associations Order, 2013” banning all such firms/outfits.
He said the Order in Paragraph 2 states that “As from the commencement of this Order, the dissolved and proscribed associations shall not be formed into any new associations by whatever name or title, within the meaning of this Order.”
“Suffice to state that the NN in the past had arrested and handed over for prosecution, members of some of these outlawed organizations. Nevertheless, their illegal activities have continued unabated in some parts of the country, particularly the South-south geopolitical zone,” he added.
He said it has therefore become necessary to notify the public and appeal for caution, while operatives of the NN in conjunction with other Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies continues to maintain vigilance in order to locate, promptly apprehend and prosecute these miscreants in accordance with the laws of the land.