The Marine Police was established in the year 1891 in Lagos, Nigeria and was then styled ‘Night Water Patrol’, with its initial personnel of twelve men headed by a sergeant. In those early days, improvised equipment such as locally carved wooden (hand pulled) canoes were used for surveillance and anti-crime patrols. Looking back at those days and the present day, it would not be incorrect to say that the branch has come of age.
Though, the Marine Section had its peculiarities, it was regarded as part of the regular Police division. It is important to add that even in those days, the Marine Section was saddled with basic ‘operational’ duties such as anti-smuggling patrols, anti-piracy operations, enforcement of ports, harbour and Shipping Acts, guards, escorts duties, surveillance and general anti crime duties.
ORGANIZATION OF THE SECTION
The Marine Section is currently a branch of ‘B’ Department of the Force. The Section has eighty-one Marine Stations, and Outpost spread across the length and breadth of the inland navigable rivers and waterways in the country. It has formations and commands at the Force Headquarters and twenty states of the federation as listed below;1. Adamawa State
2. Niger State
3. Akwa Ibom State
4. Ogun State
5. Anambra State
6. Ondo State
7. Benue State
8. Nassarawa State
9. Borno State
10. Taraba State
11. Cross River State
12. Rivers State
13. Delta State
14. Bayelsa State
15. Imo State
16. Kogi State
17. Kebbi State
18. Port Authority Command
19. Ebonyi State
20. Force Headquarters 21.
JURISDICTION AND FUNCTIONS
The Marine Section generally conducts security combat and anti-crime operations on the Territorial Inland Waters, (measured from the inward limits of the coastal waterways from the fairway buoy), Ports, and Harbours. The section sometimes enjoys incursion extending into the Continental shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone (E.E.Z) when it is conducting hot pursuit and chases. The basic and ancillary powers and authority of the section are from the Constitution of the Federal Republic, the Police Act, and various Acts and legislation.
THE FORCE MARINE OFFICER
The FMO is the administrative head of the Section and usually operate from the Force Headquarters. He is responsible for coordinating the overall functionality of the Marine Section and reports directly to the IGP. The FMO oversees and coordinates security efforts across all the established Marine States including Human Resources, Personnel Management and Identified Security Initiatives and Standards.
Administrative and operational management activities to enhance the value of the Force Marine, b. oversee a network of subordinate officers (SMO) who safeguard the Force assets (e.g. Gunboats, dinghies, arms and ammunitions etc.) and also coordinate administrative and operational duties, c. identify operational/administrative goals, objectives consistent with the Force plan, d. maintain relationship with Federal Law Enforcement and other related government agencies, e. oversee operational/administrative response planning as well as the investigation of maritime security breaches, and assist with disciplinary and legal matters associated with such breaches as necessary, f. advises the IGP on issues that concerns both national and international maritime affairs.
STATE MARINE OFFICER (SMO)
The State formations of the Section are headed by State Marine Officers, who are operationally responsible to the Commands Commissioners of Police. The SMO are administrative and operational head of the state command they control, and they are responsible for coordinating subordinate officers under their command during operational duties. They also administer the personnel management of their respective command and give feedback or returns of the following to the Force Marine Officer; - Arms and Ammunition, - Nominal Roll, - Boats and Launches, - Establishment and strength, etc.
DIVISIONAL MARINE OFFICER(DMO)
Directly responsibility to the SMO, the Divisional Marine Officer (DMO) are the grass root officers who take charge of marine out stations. The major responsibilities are to coordinate the day to day operational and administrative duties, relay order and directives from the SMO and perform escort and conveyance duties as approved by the SMO.
The section resolved to improve on its achievements through intensified waterways anticrime patrols and surveillance operations. Concentration was centered on the Niger Delta Area, where the following anti-crime operations were conducted on a much higher scale:
(i) Off-shore drilling and flow stations in the Niger Delta Area,
(ii) Off-shore (petroleum) storage platforms and conveyance tanks,
(iii) Off-shore petroleum loading and discharge facilities,
(iv) Ships berthed at the various ports (including those awaiting berthing facilities),
(v) Escort and static guard of important petroleum engineering and general equipment conveyed from one coastal city to another through the maritime highways to forestall/prevent attacks by armed sea pirates and bandits,
(vi) Active participation in ‘Operation Pulo Shield’, a massive operational onslaught in Bayelsa State.
(vii) Training of 111 cadet officers at Police Training School, Gwoza, on weapon handling,
(viii) Just concluded constable recruitment screening exercise at Police Jetty, Lagos.
(ix) As a result of the acquired fully equipped combat patrol launches, a new maintenance culture was implemented to emplace a cost-effective equipment management and utilization in the Section. The overall result of these was a reduced crime rate in the region.
(x) Intensive maritime patrol in River Niger and Benue has led to a general reduction in crime rate in the affected states. Cases of boat mishap and other forms of navigational offences have reduced to the barest minimum in this region.