The Nigeria Police Force have called on fishermen and people living along the coastal areas to collaborate with security agents to check suspected criminals operating on the waterways.
Mr Olatunji Caulcrick, the new Assistant Inspector-General Police (AIG) in charge of Maritime Operations, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria.
According to Caulcrick, fishermen and people living around the coastal areas are the best non-uniformed persons for intelligence gathering due to their occupations based on water.
He said that their support could check illegal arms smuggling, sea piracy, armed robbery and other crimes, including hoodlums attacking banks and escaping through the waterways.
He noted that some criminals under the guise of fishing carried out smuggling, armed robbery, crude oil theft and attacks on vessels.
"We urge the fishermen in the coastal areas to be wary of criminals hiding under the guise of doing same businesses with them. They should monitor them closely and report to the police,’’ he said.
Caulcrick also noted that the traditional rulers and citizens of such communities could make the job of the police easier if they carried out community policing and submit intelligence reports.
He said the police force had embarked on sensitisation of youths in the areas from taking to crime, adding that there was also increased police patrol in the places.
The AIG urged the people to ensure their personal security which, he noted, was becoming necessary daily.
On the state of facilities at the Marine Police Unit, Caulcrick said the police authorities were doing everything possible to improve on the equipment and manpower used for operation.
H said that after the Ikorodu bank robbery, the Inspector-General of Police (IG), Solomon Arase, made frantic efforts to ensure that the marine police was adequately equipped.
"There was a conference of all marine police officers where state officers were given the opportunity to speak on the challenges facing their areas. Issues such as funds, logistics and platforms were discussed.
"The IG is looking into all the challenges mentioned with a view to solving them.
"The unit has a couple of speed boats. Crimes on our waters are multiplying, so, we are re-strategising to meet the needs in all our coastal areas,’’ Caulcrick said.
"The Lagos State Police Command and the state government are also working to improve the operations of the marine police.
"With the plan by the police authority, I am sure a far reaching decision has been made to make marine police work better than before," he said.