The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Dele Ezeoba, has urged members of the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association not to pay ransom to pirates and kidnappers, who attack their trawlers.
Paying of ransom to the kidnappers, Ezeoba said, would perpetuate the vice in the country.
According to him, the country has a responsibility to adopt the measures to discourage the crime.
The Navy Chief spoke while receiving the National Executive of the Nigerian Trawlers Owners Association led by its President, Mr. Joseph Overo, in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said, “The challenges you have highlighted are common knowledge to all of us. It happens unfortunately within our maritime space, not because we want it, but because in our society, we have people who take pride in committing this crime.
“When you pay this ransom, you have opened a floodgate for the vice to continue. It then becomes business and a means of livelihood for the abductors.
“I understand the peculiar circumstances, under which this things happen; I know that in the past people have been taken hostage, some were so unfortunate to have been killed, but please it is important that we should as much as possible try not to encourage these things to continue to happen by quickly responding to the kidnappers’ requests.”
Pledging to support NITOA, Ezeoba said the Navy would assist the association if its members could provide relevant intelligence reports to the service.
Overo, who frowned on the frequency of attacks on their trawlers by pirates and kidnappers, said the vice was fast killing the fishing industry in the country.
He, therefore, appealed to the Navy for intervention.
The association, which he said had 250 vessels 10 years ago, currently has only 122 vessels following the frequent attacks on its members.