From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The Nigerian Merchant Navy otherwise known as Coastal Defence Force has highlighted the enormous responsibilities on its shoulders, insisting that they lack logistics that would help discharge the duties effectively.
To this end, the fgroup is soliciting the support of the Federal Government to empower it with patrol vans, rifles, speed boats, improved welfare and other operational equipment.
Nigerian Merchant Navy Chief, Commodore Ichukwu Agaba, who addressed a press conference, in Abuja, on Wednesday, demanded the intervention of the government in its quest to secure approval for the force operational letter that would gurantee their promotions, appointments and remuneration.
He maintained that the force has so far operated within its assigned responsibilities of combating piracy and compliment government effort to boost maritime trade and unlock the vast maritime potentials in Africa.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, on April 20, approved the Nigerian Merchant Navy (Coastal Defence Force) to secure the country’s national maritime assets, protecting them from the activities of sea pirates and other maritime related crimes.
The approval was however contested but the Federal High Court in a suit number FHC/UY/CS/67/2015 delivered a judgment in favour of Nigeria Merchant Navy on the February 11, 2016, restraining anyone, organisation and officers from further invading harassing or performing any act capable of infringing the fundamental right of the officers as guaranteed by the constitution.
Agaba was unhappy that since then, the Nigerian Merchant Navy have been working without basic salary, thus appealing to the government intervene and correct the anomalies.