The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral, Ibok-Ete Ibas, on Wednesday said crime suspects who were handed over to the police for further investigations and prosecution were being set free and were repeating the crimes for which they were initially arrested.
The CNS stated that many of the suspects were found at crime scenes again by naval personnel.
Ibas, who said this when the acting Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, paid a courtesy call him on Wednesday at the NN headquarters, Abuja, admonished the police to diligently prosecute crime suspects handed over to them to ensure a safer environment.
The CNS said the NN had always supported the Nigeria Police Force in manpower development, adding that a number of policemen were recently trained in basic maritime operations by the navy, noting that the service also handed over marine vessels involved in illegal oil bunkering to the Force.
The CNS said, “The navy has handed over to the police arrested persons who are involved in maritime crimes. We are hoping that most of the suspects that were handed over to police, that they would be prosecuted so as to serve as deterrent to would-be offenders.
“I want to observe areas where we have concerns. At some levels, we have had some instances where criminal cases which were handed over to the police have been muddled up, not properly handled, and at the end of the day, such criminals find their way back to the same operational areas where they were arrested.
“We want the suspects to be diligently prosecuted for a safer environment. Four of my men were kidnapped and we, on our own, rescued them and arrested the kidnappers, so we need to work together and collaborate in that area. If we are able to work closely, we can nip crime in the bud.”
He observed that there was no Standard Operating Procedure between the military and other security stakeholders, noting that the NN was in the process of developing an SOP.
Responding, Idris absolved the police of blame in the delay in prosecution of criminal cases, saying the Force was not in control of legal proceedings, but the judiciary.
He sought the support of navy to combat the menace of kidnapping in the country, which he said was assuming a dangerous dimension.
He stated that the police and the navy must work together, adding that the police would like to deploy more personnel in the Niger Delta for joint operations with naval personnel on their mobile flow stations.