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Merchant Navy seeks cooperation of security agencies to checkmate nefarious activities of members  

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Segun Oladipupo

The Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) on Wednesday said it was working to checkmate the nefarious activities of dubious members.

The President of the union, Chief Bob Joseph Yousou, therefore called on security agencies to report any member of the union caught in any illegal act to its national secretariat.

He said this on Wednesday while rejoicing with executives and members of the association for clocking thirty years of being called its present name.

He said, “We are working tirelessly to check mate the nefarious activities of our men. On this note, any of our officers caught in any illegal act should be reported to the National Secretariat of Nigeria Merchant Navy for disciplinary action.
“We solicit the support and cooperation of all Nigeria security Agencies,especially the Nigeria Navy to always contact us whenever there are issues concerning our men/officers.

“That we have instructed all our men/officers to always put on name – tag with Nigeria Merchant Navy inscription beneath it for easy identification to differentiate us from the Nigeria Navy.

“That any other Identity card different in any form from the one issued by Nigeria Merchant Navy, 24, Palace Road, Olodi – Apapa, Lagos (now in 14 Oscar Ibru Road, former Marine Road Apapa GRA Lagos) is deem fake and should not be recognized and such bearer/holder should be reported to the National Secretariat.

“For easy identification, Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers use the following: Our officers use emblem with black background in diamond form. Our cap badge carries gold/silver eagle on the crest.
Our uniform buttons carries anchor only. Our Officers use gadget with blue background.

“Our Merchant Navy uniform carries the inscription Merchant Navy on top of the breast pocket,” he explained.

“That we are against the abuse of the uniform i.e. wearing it arbitrary on the street, escorting vehicles and goods and fomenting trouble in the civil society etc.

The association was inaugurated on 31st of August, 1963 under the registered name of “Nigeria Merchant Shipping Officers Association.

“That Nigeria Merchant Navy as a body is not competing in any way with the Nigeria Navy as we have our clearly define roles of Merchant Navy activities which is different from that of Nigeria Navy of protecting the Nation’s territorial waters and waterways. On this note, we have the below for the public information:

“That Merchant Navy is a professional body recognized worldwide.

“We want to use this medium to congratulate and rejoice with all the members, executives and Staff of our great Association as today being 14th April is our 34th years that we are bearing Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers And Water Transport Senior Staff Association.

“Though history has it that the Association came into being on the 31st of August, 1963 under the registered name of “Nigeria Merchant Shipping Officers Association.

Speaking on the history of the union, he said that the history of the union dated to as far back as the 19th century.

He added that the defunct Nigeria Marine department now known and addressed as Nigeria Merchant Navy was originally formed in 1914 after the merger of the Northern and Southern Nigeria Marine detachment.

“This detachment originated from the British Mercantile Marine. The Royal Navy now Nigeria Navy was formed from the defunct Nigeria Marine department in 1958. The first (2) two Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) were from the Merchant Navy outfit in the persons of the following:

“Vice Admiral Joseph Edet Akinwale Wey, OFR FSS, First Nigerian Chief of the Naval Staff. A pioneer who, with his colleagues, took a good hard look at the geo-political location of Nigeria and came up with plans on which to build a great Navy, which they pursued methodically, diligently and honestly.

“Admiral Wey joined the Marine Department around 1940 as a technical apprentice to be trained as a Marine Engineer. At the end of the course in 1945, he served in all sea-going vessels of the Marine Department. In 1956 when the Navy was established, he was transferred to the Navy as a Sub-Lieutenant.

“In March 1964, then a Commodore, he was appointed the first Nigerian to head the Navy. He was a super administrator, statesman and diplomat. He was head of he Navy at the critical time of the Nigerian Civil War. Perhaps he was  most remembered today by many for his gregariousness and humour. When he died on 12 December 1990, his burial was perhaps the first of its kind in Nigerian military history.”

According to Yousou, the Nigerian Navy was formed to protect the Merchant Navy attacks at sea which he said were regular occurrences at the time.

“These incidents were instrumental to the British decision to carve out Nigeria Navy from the Nigeria Merchant Navy with the specific task of responding to attacks on Nigeria Shipping activities.

“Thus in 1956, (11) eleven small boats and harbor crafts were acquired and about (200) two hundred Officers and Men were transferred from the Nigeria Merchant Navy to be trained as the independent Naval Defence Force.

“In 1958, the British parliament formally reconstituted the colony small Naval Defence Force as the Royal Navy, when Nigeria became a Republic, the term Royal was dropped. The Nigeria Navy has since existed.

Making clarification on the differences between Nigerian Navy and Merchant Navy uniforms, he said, “That Nigeria Merchant Navy uniform as it is today is the same as in inception in line with other Merchant Navy Officers worldwide.

” Due to the current security challenges in the nation, we want to monitor and control the use of our uniform; therefore permission is required before wearing it ashore.”

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