The Training Depot Commander of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Coastal Defence Force, Lagos, Ichuku Agaba, says the Force has identified criminal hideouts on Lagos waterways.
Agaba told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos on Saturday that the Force was prepared to take the battle to the criminals in their hideouts.
He said also that the group had joined forces with the Nigerian Navy and the Police to check coastal crimes in Lagos.
The Merchant Navy chief said that, in the last eight months, the Force had arrested eight suspected armed robbers around Kosofe waterfront as they attacked innocent citizens.
The suspects were handed over to the Police for prosecution, he added.
“We carried out surveillance on waterways in Lagos and now know the criminals’ hideouts.
“We identified them, but we lack logistics to carry out arrests. We use locally-made boats. We need speed boats for patrols, arms and other equipment.
“We want the government to empower us; we promise that within one week, these criminal elements operating on the waterways in Lagos will be arrested. We have the manpower but lack logistics.
“I have written to Lagos State Government for logistics; if we have the necessary equipment, criminals cannot come from elsewhere to commit crime in Lagos and escape via our waters,’’ he assured.
Agaba said that another major challenge the group faced was physical structures and welfare of personnel, stressing that its men currently operate from makeshift tents at their Kosofe waterfront base, Ogudu Ori-Oke.
“We don’t have basic salary; we contribute money, food and material things with which we sustain ourselves.
“Some people bring water and other needed things. That is why we appeal to the state and the Federal governments for logistics,’’ he said.
Agaba also told NAN that the Force was ready to join others fighting bandits and terrorists in the north, provided it gets training and provision of necessary needs.