The Navy is enforcing the ban on outboard engines with 200 horsepower or above in Delta State.
The move, it said, would rid the waterways and mainland of oil theft, illegal oil refining, piracy and other crimes.
In its maiden outing on the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta to jetties and take-off points in Warri yesterday, the Navy arrested 26 speed boats with 200 or above horsepower engines.
They were docked at the Warri Naval Base.
The Base Operations Officer (BOO), Commander Shehu Tasiu, who spoke on behalf of the Commander of the NNS Delta, Commodore Raimi Mohammed, said the action followed a rise in criminal activities on the waterways.
But a rights’ group, Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-corruption Crusade (FHRACC), in a statement by its National President Alaowei Cleric and National/Diaspora Coordinator Jerry Otuaro, condemned the Navy’s operation as unconstitutional and illegal.
Addressing reporters on the need to enforce the restriction on the use of high speed outboard engines, Tasiu said those engaged in criminal activities on the waterways always relied on the speed of their engines to escape.
The naval officer noted that it could also be difficult to identify those with genuine and lawful reasons to use such engines.
He said: “It would be recalled that sometime in January, particularly after the pipeline explosion of January 14 and 15, the ban on the use of high capacity boat engines was reiterated by the headquarters of the Joint Task Force (JTF) and by the Bayelsa and Delta state governments.
“Let me also say that this ban has been in force since 2007/2008, when the Niger Delta crisis was on. The reason this ban is being enforced is because these high capacity outboard engines are being used to perpetrate criminal acts. In 2007/2008, it was mainly about militancy, kidnapping and unnecessary killings, and it was observed that when criminals strike, they use these high capacity engines to evade arrest…”
First published in – http://thenationonlineng.net/navy-seizes-26-speed-boats-warri/