While security sources and certain government agents in Cross River State have been quick to debunk a news item carried by www.calitown.com, drawing attention to the involvement of a vessel, the Emiliana Caneiro in the discharge of hundreds of illegal immigrants at the Nigerian Inland Waterways Jetty, Calabar, Cross River State, Gabonese security sources have further communicated to www.calitown.com that the Emiliana Caneiro is a notorious vessel “making sleazy sea tours to several West African destinations”.
To drive home the point, an electronic mail sent by the same security sources from Gabon point to the fact that, “in 2013, two traffickers were arrested in Gabon with 18 elephant tusks weighing a total of 178kg on its way to the Emiliana Caneiro, in an operation carried out by the Gabonese Judicial Police”. The operation is said to have cracked down on “an organised crime network receiving ivory coming from all corners of Gabon and transporting same to the West African ports of Calabar, Nigeria, Cotonou, Benin and Lome, Togo from where the tusks are sent directly to Asia”. Furthermore, this vessel is thought to have been involved in trafficking for decades. “Two people were arrested in the ivory case; a Togolese, who is the Stores and Luggage Manager, the other is a Gabonese of Sao Tome extraction and head of the Gabonese branch of the shipping company”, the e-mail reveals.
Eventhough this evidence is known to Nigerian security agents, the vessel’s agent in Nigeria, said to be LilyWhite Shipping Agency, constantly greases the palms of the security agents while Emiliana Caneiro brings in her sleazy cargo. But the blame for the seeming invincibility of the vessel has been placed on some Nigerian security agents who the www.calitown.com report clearly indited. Government representatives in the last couple of days have mounted what one watcher called “a lousy investigation”, while working hard to show that no ship with illegal immigrants berthed at the jetty, even when several pictures attached to the story clearly show that the illegal drop took place”.
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