Court Says Merchant Navy Illegal


The Nigerian Merchant Navy Corps is an illegal organisation whose activities constitute a threat to national security, an Ikeja High Court has held.

In a judgment on Thursday, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo said that the Merchant Navy was not recognised by any law.

Taiwo delivered a judgment in a suit filed by the 96 members of the corps against the Inspector-General of Police and one Mrs. Yemisi Kefas of the Office to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

The judge dismissed the suit which challenged alleged eviction of the corps from its office by the police and Kefas.

The judge awarded a cost of N20,000 against the corps.

“This is an illegal organisation being headed by one Commodore Allen Edema, a trained welder and not a navy commodore as he is parading himself,” Taiwo held.

She said that there was ample evidence that the corps had had series of disputes in the past with the Nigerian Navy.

“It was the Nigerian Navy that invaded the premises of the applicants and forcefully evicted them and not Mrs. Kefas or the police,” Taiwo held.

The judge said that the applicants would not be entitled to the property in dispute, since there was no evidence before the court to show that the corps was a legal entity.

She said that the property belonged to the Federal Government.

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The judge further held that there was no evidence that the applicants were tortured or prevented from peacefully assembly as they claimed.

Taiwo said that there was discrepancy in the corps’s name.

She said that the corps sometime referred to itself as the Nigerian Merchant Navy Corps and at other times, the Nigerian Merchant Navy Security and Safety Corps.

“The identity of the applicants has not been confirmed. I find that the application fails and it is hereby dismissed,” she held.

NAN reports that the 96 members of the corps, led by Edema, had sought enforcement of their fundamental rights.

In an application dated August 5, 2011, their counsel, Mr. Spencer Ohwofa, claimed the applicants were forcefully evicted from their office at No. 6, Force Road, Onikan, Lagos, by policemen acting on the instruction of Kefas.

The applicants had claimed that the property was given to the corps for operations by a former SGF, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed.

Kefas counsel, Mr. K.S. Omosivwe, had submitted that the organisation was illegal and not recognised by the Corporate Affairs Commission.

He said that the corps had no relationship with the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Maritime Administration Safety Agency.

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