15 October 2012, Sweetcrude, Lagos – THE Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has decried the release of arrested suspected pirates saying that “The continuous release of suspected pirates is frustrating our fight against pirate attack on vessels”.
NIMASA’s Director General, Mr. Patrick Akpobolokemi said that each time these suspects are arrested and hand over to the prosecuting agencies no sooner than later, they are released from detention.
Akpobolokemi stated that some suspected pirates who were arrested have been released by the prosecuting agency while investigation was still ongoing, only to be re-arrestedattempting to perpetrate acts for which they were arrested in the first place.
Akpobolokemi noted that release of these suspects makes nonsense of the Agency’s efforts to reduce or eliminate the menace of pirates on the nation’s waters.
In a report he presented before members of the Senate Committee on Marine Transport, the Agency’s helmsman stated that NIMASA can only make arrest and hand over to the Police or State Security Service or any other prosecuting agency.
He urged the Committee to assist the Agency in engaging sister Agencies involved in the prosecution of suspects to achieve unanimity of purpose in the fight against piracy in Nigeria and possibly the entire West African coast.
Speaking in similar vein, the Commander in charge of the NIMASA’s Maritime Guard Command (MGC) Navy Captain Promise Dappa said that one of the arrested suspects, Mr. Nicholas Okotie has been nabbed before by the SSS for a similar offence.
Assuring the Agency of its support, Chairperson of the Committee Senator Zainab Kure said the Committee will summon the Inspector General of Police to explain the frequent release of arrested persons suspected to be pirates.
The Committee also commended the Agency for the strategy it has employed to tackle the menace of piracy.