Naval Couple in Custody over Alleged Sea Piracy, National Security
It was not on allegation bordering on sexual impropriety that the duo of Navy Captain Dada Labinjo and Lt. Commander Sherifat Ibe Lambert (also known as Mrs. Bola Labinjo) were arrested last September, but for engaging in alleged ‘Sea Piracy’ and other illegal activities that may threaten national security, PRNigeria has gathered.
The two naval officers, alongside 13 other persons who were reported to have been in the custody of Nigerian Navy (NN) since their arrest, are presently at a facility of a military intelligence service in the country.
A credible security source who spoke in confidence told PRNigeria said that both Captain Dada Labinjo and Lt. Commander Sherifat Lambert, are in the custody of the intelligence service because their case has connection with the breach of national security and fraudulent business activities.
The officer said: “The couple and others arrested with them were involved in maritime crimes when they chartered a vessel MT Adeline Jumbo and later hijacked another tanker vessel MT Pantelena off the coast of Gabon in Central Africa — an area notorious for piracy. The tanker vessel was hijacked and held by the pirates for 9 days before the crew were released. The crew included 17 Georgian and 2 Russian citizens. There were some 7000 tons of fuel on board at the time of hijack. the Georgian government issued a security alert about its citizens on board.
“The Nigerian security and intelligence services were alerted, and the Nigerian Navy was able to intercept and arrest the suspects.
“After the initial investigation, the suspects were handed over to the intelligence service because of the gravity of the offence with border on national security and international law.
“Meanwhile, the couple had had frosty relationship with the Nigerian Navy before the last incident. They have been reabsorbed into the Nigerian Navy after winning their legal cases in the court after their dismissal. Unfortunately, they deliberately refuse to resume in office. They know that desertion is a very serious offence in the military.”
The latest findings run contrary to the claim by Centre Against Impunity (CAI) that the suspects were in the custody of the Nigerian Navy.
CAI stated that the suspects, after their arrest, approached the Federal High Court for an Order enforcing their fundamental rights which was granted and the Federal High Court directed the Navy to release the detainees. But the Navy had refused to comply with the Order, arguing that the detainees had been denied access to their solicitors, doctors and family members.
CAI, in the release signed by one Comrade Shina Loremikan, added that Navy instead of complying with a valid court judgement that ordered their release, sometimes in December last year, surreptitiously removed all the suspects to an unknown location.
Meanwhile, Navy’s Director of Information, Commodore Suleiman Dahun was not available to respond to enquiry on the development. It would be recalled that the Navy had arrested 15 Nigerians in September 2018, including the naval couple for an undisclosed offence before other security and intelligence services took over the case.