An illegal maritime institution, Merchant Seaman Academy, at Uwa West in Essien Udim Local Government of Akwa Ibom State has been shut by the Nigerian Navy Ship Jubilee, Ikot Abasi.
The proprietor, Adams Pius and three of the instructors were arrested and handed over to the Ikot Ekpene Division of the Nigeria Police.
The operation, led by the Executive Officer, Naval Ship, NNS Jubilee, Captain Suleiman Ibrahim, resulted in the evacuation of students by a team of Police and Navy for repatriation to their states.
it was learnt that the institution was sealed off in 2013, but inexplicably resumed operation in 2016, until it was shut last Friday.
The proprietor, according to findings by the Navy, connived with suspected syndicates at the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB).
The suspected syndicates allegedly sent text messages to the unsuspecting admission seekers, saying they had been admitted into the illegal maritime academy.
According to Captain Ibrahim, Navy received intelligence information that the institution had begun operation, following which the school was raided and shut down.
“In 2013, the then President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan outlawed the institution, which claimed it was training merchant sailors because it does not have the capacity to embark on this kind of training. So, it was shut. When we got intelligence information about the existence of this place sometime ago, we raided the place and the institution was temporarily closed.
“This year, we received intelligence information that the same school has resumed training young Nigerians in maritime studies despite that there is no authority for them to do so. That led to our raiding the place and shutting it down again.”