By Philip Nwosu

The Nigerian Navy has raised alarm over the escalating issue of stowaways in Lagos waters, with a staggering 75 individuals arrested on merchant ships from August 2023 to April 2024.

In a statement by Commodore Aiwuyor Adams-Aliu, director of Information at Naval Headquarters, the Navy disclosed its grave concern regarding the trend.

According to Adams-Aliu, the Navy has taken proactive measures to address the situation. This includes deploying advanced Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) equipment to enable Quick Response Teams (QRT) to swiftly respond to incidents across Nigeria’s territorial waters.

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Detailing the operations, Adams-Aliu revealed that the QRT effectively extracted stowaways who had concealed themselves within the vessels’ rudder compartments. The Navy spokesperson provided a breakdown of stowaway arrests during the review period, citing incidents ranging from August 2023 to April 2024.

All apprehended stowaways have been handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in accordance with established protocols for further necessary action. Adams-Aliu emphasized the illegality of migration as a stowaway and underscored the significant risks it poses to both individuals and shipowners, including severe legal consequences and health hazards such as exposure to harsh weather conditions, lack of sustenance, injuries, and potential fatalities.

In light of these dangers, the NN issued a stern warning to Nigerian youths against embarking on such perilous journeys, urging them to desist from such activities. The statement concluded with a plea for public cooperation in combating this menace and ensuring the safety and security of maritime operations in the region.