15 August 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has raised alarm over the influx of arms and ammunition illegally brought into the country.
NIMASA’s Director General , Patrick Akpobolokemi said that most of the illegally imported arms and ammunition have also been traced to the illegal activities of some shipping firms involved in unauthorized mid-stream discharge.
Akpobolokemi who disclosed this at a breakfast meeting with stakeholders in the maritime industry however warned shipping firms involved in such act to desist or face severe sanction.
The NIMASA boss noted that the influx of these illegally imported arms will continue if urgent steps are not taken to checkmate the activities of crude oil thieves adding that NIMASA is now in a position to legally sanction anybody or vessels found wanting.
He also called for the cooperation of other government agencies with a view to fighting the menace of influx of illegally imported arms.
He also disclosed that the government is very aware of the development just as it is doing everything possible nip the ugly situation.
Akpobolokemi noted most of these arms and ammunition are the same arms used by pirates and oil thieves to cause havoc in the Niger Delta region.
Speaking in similar vein, President of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Tony said the illegalities going on the nation’s waters are better imagined.
He also accused official of the Nigerian Ports Authority NPA) of conniving with these criminals to sabotage the economy and the Nigerian people.