Abiodun OBA |
The Nigerian Navy has been said to have the professional expertise capable of securing Nigeria waterways effectively from illegalities.
The Comptroller of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) Marine Command Onne, Rivers, Mrs Elizabeth Inok who received rescued officers of the service on behalf the Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, affirmed on Thursday.
“On behalf of the Comptroller General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, we are delighted that our officers have been returned to us alive and without injuries.”
The Nigerian Navy rescued Mr Samson Raphael, a Senior Immigration officer and three of his colleagues from the Rivers Marine Command from suspected militants on Tuesday in Rivers.
The other victims are: Peter Ofili, Asuquo Edet and Hafiz Moyi.
Narrating their ordeal in Port Harcourt on Thursday, Raphael said they were kidnapped while travelling onboard a speed boat.
“We left Bonny Island onboard a speed boat for an official assignment in Onne. On our way to Onne, we were apprehended by gunmen at about 8 a.m. on Tuesday.
“Immediately the kidnappers stopped our boat, they pointed their guns at us and threatened to shoot if we did not cooperate.
“Thereafter, they forcefully took us and sailed the sea for about 10 endless hours before we arrived their camp.”
He said that they were kept in a hut after they arrived the kidnappers’ camp in a dense mangrove forest.
“Later, our abductors told us that they will contact our superiors to demand for our ransom. They threatened to bury us alive if NIS and our families failed to cooperate.
“Thankfully, they were unable to carry out their threats due to the timely intervention by troops of the Nigerian Navy that raided the camp on Wednesday.
“On the day of our rescue, we heard heavy gunshots and immediately laid flat on the floor. We suspected that such superior fire power could come only from security agencies.
“Afterwards, we saw naval operatives shooting and pursuing the fleeing captors. Later some navy personnel came to where we were held and rescued us,” he said.
Capt. Adegoke Ebo, Executive Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, said the navy had immediately deployed gunboats after learning of the abduction.
Ebo handed over the victims to personnel of the Police Command in Rivers.
“After we learnt of the abductions and gathered available intelligence, we conducted a clearance operation on Nov. 13 at the suspected militant camp in Ikelekele, Rivers.
“The operation, comprised of a combined officers and men of NNS Pathfinder and Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) Bonny, successfully rescued the NIS officers without any casualty.”
He said items recovered from the militant camp included one Pump action rifle, a locally made gun, 7.62mm ammunition, hammers, cutters and several mobile phones.
“We were unable to make any arrest as the suspects escaped from the camp during the raid. However, we saw traces of blood that suggested that some of them sustained gunshot injuries.
“To this end, a search is currently ongoing with a view to locate and apprehend the hoodlums that fled the camp.
“We urge the public to report any suspicious person with gunshot wounds, particularly, those living in communities where the militant camp exist, to the nearest police station,” he appealed.
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