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Merchant Navy decries arrest and molestation of members by Nigeria police 

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Segun Oladipupo

The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) has called on the Nigeria Police to stop harassing and arresting its members under the guise that it is proscribed or disbanded.

The National Secretary of the association, Comrade John Okponor while briefing the press on the development on behalf of the National President, Comrade Bob Yousou in Lagos on Friday, decried the incessant arrest of the members of the association within Lagos and Ogun states

Okponor stated that the arrest began owing to a pronouncement by the commissioner of police that the group has been proscribed

Appealing to the general public and the police, the Secretary explained that merchant navy officers are certified seafarers who have international recognition and acceptability.

He added that the group came into being through government gazette hence it cannot be disbanded or proscribed by any authority.

Asked how many members have been arrested so far, he said he could not recall offhand even as he said one of them was apprehended the day before and is still languishing in police cell as at the time of the press briefing.

His words, “Among the issues that crosses over as seafaring is concerned is the issue of disbandment or prohibition between the Merchant Navy and the police precisely in Lagos and Ogun states because for other states, we don’t have issues

“I want to appeal to the public and the police because they seem not to understand the meaning of Merchant Navy as a career and discipline

“Merchant Navy is one of the disciplines that have international outreach, I cannot see other that is close to Merchant Navy.

“A certified seaman with COC either first class or second class with vessel capacity, if you go to any part of the world, it is the same rank they will give to you. That is merchant business for you.

“I just want to use this medium to appeal to the public that Merchant Navy is the name given to persons that work upon vessels within coastal and international waters and they cannot be proscribed by any law or proscribed by any authority because it is a discipline.

“Above 90 percent of the world volume is being carried by seafarers who you can as well call sailors or merchant navy. It is their duty in the global world and if they can be acknowledged by the globe  that is what they do, I don’t think Nigeria should be different,” he said.

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