By OKOSUN DENNIS
It was a case of no regret for an offence committed as three unrepentant stowaway were on Thursday handed over to the Nigerian police by the Nigerian Navy at the NNS Beecroft, Apapa.
The suspects justified while they illegally boarded a ship sailing to Brazil, South America citing harsh economic realities and lack of assistance from Nigerians.
The suspects: Okechukwu Obi (17) Ismaila Olaniyi (28) and Tunji Joseph (29) were handed over by the Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Ajadi to Inspector Afolayan Michael of Area B Division, Apapa who stood in for the Divisional Police Officer.
Commodore Ajadi said the navy arrested the suspects on 30 January, 2016 after getting a signal from the ship complaining of having illegal people on board.
He said: “On Saturday 30 January, we arrested the suspects for illegal boarding of Merchant Vessel TORM MARINS who berthed at National Oil Jetty (NOJ) Apapa.
“Our investigation revealed that the suspects boarded the ship through the Rudder Trunk access manhole in a bid to travel with the vessel to Europe.”
It was discovered that one of the suspect Okechukwu was arrested for the same offence by the navy in 2015 and handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service for prosecution. Until he was re-arrested, there was no report of the suspect being prosecuted by Immigration service.
Okechukwu who is a bus conductor at CMS in Lagos said he has no regret for his illegal act claiming that the deplorable state of the economy is responsible for his intention to stowaway repeatedly.
“You can see that the country is difficult. I just want to leave Africa for Europe provided I am out of Nigeria. Where I was engaged as an apprentice as a generator mechanic, I was asked to bring a guarantor, nobody stood for me hence I had to abandon the apprenticeship,”he thundered.
For Olaniyi, an Ogun indigene but claimed to be resident at Ogombo in Etiosa LCDA said he has been a street boy all his life and was tired of it and just wanted to be out of the country for better prospects abroad.