The Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Commodore Musa Ajadi, warned the riverine communities, particularly the youths against disrupting fishing and other activities in the area.
The warning came in the wake of an attack by suspected sea robbers dressed in military combat gear in the Oron area of Akwa Ibom State last week.
The robbers allegedly carted away millions of naira from a first generation bank in the area, the Naval authorities have revealed.
The robbers, Daily Sun learnt, came in over five speed boats and they were dressed in military combat fatigue. They robbed the bank and escaped with the same speed boats into nearby villages.
No casualty was recorded in the operation, but an unspecified amount of money was taken from the bank.
The incident came just three days after another gang wreaked havoc on a fishing trawler operating in the water way in the Calabar area, killing two persons and escaping with an undisclosed amount of money.
Following the incident, Commodore Ajadi has directed naval personnel attached to the Navy’s Forward Operations Base (FOB), Ibaka to fish out the robbers from villages around the area.
He said that intelligence reports had shown that the robbers came from a riverine village around the area.
He gave the name of the attacked vessel as Atlantic Shrimpa, explaining that she came from Lagos to fish in the water ways of the eastern part of the country.
He said: " Like I told you earlier, there was a case of sea robbery on Sunday night and the Commanding Officer of Ibaka was contacted and he deployed his men to see whether they could find these people, but we were told that they sped off with a speed boat, but they have been able to identify the personalities involved in the robbery.
"They have also identified the village where they have gone and they have been directed to go and search for them.
"Investigation has revealed that some crew members do inform pirates and sea robbers of the large cash in their possession. Some of them sell their fish at sea, if not it beats my imagination how robbers would cart away millions of naira from fishermen at sea."
He said that normally when these fishing trawlers came to fish in the area, they were not in communication with the Nigerian Navy, unless they experienced an attack.
The Commanding Officer, NNS Pathfinder, Navy Captain Peter Oraka also spoke of the arrest of 47 barges and 11 vehicles used by illegal bunkerers to siphon crude oil from the country’s oil facilities in the area.
The Commanding Officer said a large number of arms and ammunition were also recovered from the suspects by the men of the NNS Pathfinder, adding that weapons recovered included, one Russian made pistol, one locally made pistol, 24 7.62mm ammunition, eight 9mm ammunition, two single barrel guns and two single barrel rifles.
Thursday, December 01, 2005