Members of the National Association of Seadogs (NAS), otherwise known as Pyrates Confraternity, in Festac, Lagos, recently made donations to police officers and men at the Festac Police Division in Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area of Lagos State.
The group, led by its president, Afam Chukwuma, donated 20 pieces of reflective jackets to the traffic section of the police division on the occasion.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mr. Abiola Haruna, welcomed the group and demanded to know their mission and vision.
In his response, Chukwuma told the DPO and his men that NAS was a non-governmental organisation that was duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and operates globally. He said the organisation’s core mandates include fighting social ills and standing for justice and fairness, among others.
“We are wired to fight societal ills. Our motto is against moribund convention, ethnicity and tribalism. We promote humanistic ideals, comradeship and chivalry. That is who we are and that is what we represent. Anywhere we see societal ills, injustice, people being maltreated, we speak up for them. We have alms for prisons, citizens’ summit, NAS medical mission, where we carry out humanitarian and social services. So, we are all encompassing in our approach and relationship,” he said.
He explained that they were at the police division to let the DPO and his men know about NAS existence in Festac and their preparedness to partner with the police to bring about justice and peace within Festac and its environs.
“Our Festac chapter was just created two months ago and we felt it was necessary to identify and introduce ourselves to the Nigeria Police, Festac Division, which is our area of operation. We also feel it is necessary to come and share our vision and mission and see how we can support you and how you can also support us,” he said.
He traced the origins of the association to 1952 at the University College, Ibadan, when seven young men came together to fight class distinction, ethnicity and tribalism, which were very pronounced at that time.
“To eliminate tribalism, they started by giving themselves specific names that were known to them apart from tribal names. That was purposely done to prevent ethnic bias and we have upheld that tradition till today,” he added.
He dismissed the perception that NAS was a cult group, saying the body pulled out of the university or any institution for that matter since 1984, and those parading themselves as NAS members in schools were impostors that should be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
“Today, we are no longer in the university. In 1980, we got registered with the CAC. We do not have a presence in any institution at all. As a matter of fact, the least requirement to be a member is the NYSC discharge or exemption certificate,” he clarified.
While donating reflective jackets to the traffic section, Chukwuma appealed to the DPO and the Divisional Traffic Officer (DTO) to do something to end the gridlock at Apple Junction.
“We have six branches in Lagos in Ikorodu, Ikeja, Egbeda, Victoria Island, Surulere and Festac. Accept us for who we are. We are here to support you. We are here to inform you that we are not involved in any clandestine activity; we are genuine, responsible citizens, cutting across all fields of human endeavour,” he said.
The group’s national vice-president for Lagos operations, Bashorun Olanrewaju, equally averred that part of what the association does would benefit the police.
He said: “We have done medical missions in some police formations in Lagos, like prostate cancer investigation, free eye test and glasses for the officers and others. Now that we are here, we want to ask for your support and find out what we can do to support you as a division so that we can have a symbiotic relationship, going forward.”
In his response, the DPO expressed appreciation to the group for the visit. He promised to work with them only if they operate within the ambit of the law.
“I am an officer that is guided by the law. And I want to suggest that all your activities will be within the ambit of the law. Don’t take the law into your hands. When you see anything going wrong, call us. When you see anything going wrong with my men, call me; don’t challenge my men on the road. Anytime you call me, I will take action,” he assured them.
On the perennial traffic at Apple Junction, Haruna told them that it was beyond the police’s capacity.
“It is only the government that can tackle it, maybe by constructing a flyover. Bad roads, rains and a lot of other human factors contribute to gridlocks in Lagos,” he said.