LAGOS, 8 February 2021 – Navy officials have pledged to stamp out any collusion by their officers in crime, including kidnappings off the coast of Nigeria.
The new “zero tolerance” approach has been put in place by the newly-appointed Rear Admiral Anwal Z. Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff.
His predecessor until last month, Vice-Admiral I.E. Ibas, admitted that the Navy had what he called “bad eggs” within its ranks as well as in other armed and security forces.
“The established policies and measures to sanction identified Nigerian Navy personnel that collude with economic saboteurs, drug traffickers/barons, bandits, kidnappers and armed robbers shall be overhauled and strengthened,” Rear Admiral Gambo told naval officers and commanders during an address in the Nigerian capital, Abujua.
Anyone who connives with kidnappers and criminals will be caught and punished, Gambo said, promising to use a “heavy hand” against Navy officers who are caught in crime.
Piracy has become both more rewarding in ransom paid and more daring in the approaches adopted by the criminals.
A Turkish-crewed container ship was recently breached in Nigeria’s territorial waters, when pirates successfully boarded, overwhelmed its limited armed guard, killing one crew member and kidnapping15 others.
Ninety-five percent of global kidnappings occur in the Gulf of Guinea, which covers 2.3 million square kilometers and borders 20 countries, according to data from the International Maritime Bureau.
Many of the most violent armed attacks on vessels in the portion of the Gulf of Guinea bordering Nigeria have been recorded in the creeks of the country’s Niger Delta, which are both dangerous and extremely hard to police.