Date: December 7, 2023 3:43 am
…Say we survived on biscuits, sachet water
A 22-year-old stowaway suspect, Ebi Agrive, has recounted their ordeals while in the ship, saying they fed on biscuits and sachet water inside the ship in their desperate bid to travel out of the country.
He said they shared only 10 biscuits and five sachet water in their bags so that the ship operators would not know their mission.
The Bayelsa state-born man, who claimed to be half Nigerian and half Ghanaian, said he desperately wanted to travel out of the country to seek greener pastures where he could get a better job and good pay.
He said, “I don’t have any helper and none of my family members are doing well; so, I decided to travel out by all means so that I can make it in life.
“I don’t have money to process my travelling documents; and that was the reason I wanted to risk my life on water. I am a fabricator technician, I don’t have accommodation and I get low pay.
“We don’t know the destination of the ship, but our belief was that once a white man is on board the ship is going to Europe or USA.”
Another suspect, Goodness Edu, 28, from Calabar, Cross river state, revealed that they boarded a vessel from the shipside even as they didn’t know where the vessel was heading to.
He said, “Actually, we board a vessel from the ship side; and we don’t know where the vessel is heading to. We paid a fishing bolt at Tin Can N2, 000 to assist us cross to the ship and we climbed the ship and got inside to hide at one corner.
“I was working as a labourer in one of the ports, but I couldn’t afford accommodation to sustain myself. I lost my parents in 202; and I was living with my uncle who was not taking good care of me. So, I decided to leave my uncle and run down to Lagos to stay with my friends.”
Continuing, he said, “I met these guys and they told me about the movement, in which I agreed to join them. We spent three days inside the ship before the operators came to check something where they saw us where we had hidden.”
Blueprint Weekend gathered that the suspected stowaways were arrested by Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft patrol team while on a routine patrol and they successfully extracted and apprehended some four individuals on Monday, November 13, 2023, onboard Container Vessel Teme Express, which was en route Dubai.
Parading the suspected stowaways Friday at NNS Beecroft conference hall, Apapa, Lagos, the commander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS), Beecroft, Commodore Kolawole Olumide Oguntuga, said the tactical teams were dispatched to the vessel at Lagos Anchorage, sequel to receiving information from the Maritime Domain Awareness Facility (MDAF) and the Falcon Eye Alignment (FEA).
According to him, the stowaways were found with a bag filled with snacks and another polybag containing sachet water.
“They were identified as: Ebi Agrive, 22, Bayelsa state; Lucky Amusu, 23, Lagos state; Goodness Edu, 28, Akwa Ibom and Michael Daniel,18, Ondo state, while the suspects were handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) in accordance with the established protocols,” he said.
He said this arrest was another testament of the Nigerian Navy’s unwavering commitment and resolve “towards a holistic maritime security for economic prosperity of Nigeria.”