Makurdi — For some time now, a hotel in Makurdi area of Benue state (name withheld), has been witnessing an unprecedented crowd, majority of whom were youths between ages 18 and 22.
Their mission was unknown until policemen from the Benue State Police Command stormed the hotel Sunday, arresting three men in full naval uniform, where preliminary investigation revealed that they were into illegal recruitment into the Nigerian navy, NN.
Another startling discovery was that the suspects who apparently hijacked the ongoing recruitment into the lower cadre of the Nigerian Navy were not personnel of the Service, neither were they consultants . Only one of them was discovered to be a dismissed naval personnel.
The Benue State Commissioner of Police, Mr Christopher Katso explained that , " our intelligence report uncovered a syndicate of three men, led by one Emmanuel Audu who were fully kitted in naval uniforms, in a hotel room from where they were conducting phony recruitment into the Nigerian Navy".
Upon arrest and interrogation, they confessed that they were not personnel of the Nigerian Navy but were in the business to make money for themselves.
"After a thorough search of their room, we recovered large number of credentials, list of short listed candidates and cash ostensibly collected from their unsuspecting victims; photocopiers, computers and several documents", the CP said.
Alleged leader of the syndicate, Emmanuel, told Crime Alert that he was dismissed from the NN in year 2011.
According to him, " i was once a naval personnel but was unjustly dismissed in 2011 by the authorities after i took ill and was declared AWOL.
Even when i tendered the medical reports that clearly showed that i was truly ill, my plea was not listened to and i was summarily dismissed for no justifiable reason; even when others who committed worse offenses were forgiven and allowed to stay in service, I was dismissed in my case. Noone, listened to me even when I showed them the reason why i had to stay away from my duty post".
He added that he resorted to the phony recruitment exercise in order to eke a living for himself since he was unjustifiably deprived of his source of livelihood.
His alleged partners in crime claimed Emmanuel played on their gullibility by talking them into joining him,without the slightest inkling that he had been dismissed from service.
According to one of them, John Ochi," "I new him from home in Otukpo. We were friends for a long time. So, when he informed me of the opportunity to get enlisted into the navy for N100,000, I jumped at the offer because for a long time, I've been struggling to get enlisted into the military or para-military service without success, that is why I felt I should give him the money to assist me get the job; I didn't know it would turn out this way". The suspects according to the CP, would be charged to court.