The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has arrested another five suspects with 98 bags of rice after a similar arrest on Tuesday.
City Round gathered that the suspects were arrested on Wednesday by the operatives of the Base during a routine patrol by the navy gunboat.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Capt. Peter Yilme, who spoke while handing over the suspects and items to the Deputy Superintendent, Nigeria Customs Service, Garuba Hassan, said the suspects were arrested at the Agbani area.
He thanked the naval operatives for their gallantry, adding that the continued arrests showed the unrelenting efforts of the smugglers to continue with their illicit trade despite warnings.
“The suspects and contraband were arrested on 22 January 2020 at about 0030 hours at Agbani area during routine patrol by FOB Ibaka gunboat crew.
Hassan said, “The arrest brings to fore the unrelenting drive by the smugglers in continuing their illicit acts. Nevertheless, the base will not relent in ridding the waterways of all forms of criminal activities for legitimate economic activities to thrive.’’
The Deputy Superintendent, NCS, Garuba Hassan, received the suspected smugglers and the items on behalf of the NCS.
Also, the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory patrol team seized four boats conveying 692 bags of foreign rice and 181 drums of petrol worth N75m and arrested five suspected smugglers.
The Commander of NNS Victory, Rear Admiral Vincent Okeke disclosed this to journalists while handing over the suspects and contraband items to the NCS in Calabar, Cross River.
He said the suspects were arrested in four boats with the goods around Calabar Fairway Buoy and Tom Shot Island on Sunday, January 19, 2020.
Okeke said, “The boats, five crew members, bags of foreign parboiled rice and drums of PMS were escorted to the base. Upon arrival at the jetty, a total of 692 bags of different foreign rice brands and 181 drums of PMS were recovered.
“Investigations revealed that the suspected foreign parboiled rice was loaded from Wovia in Cameroon and the boat was heading for Oron in Akwa Ibom State before the arrest. The total market value of the seized items is about N75, 321, 250.”
Okeke also said, “Within the last two months, NNS Victory has recorded 13 major arrests of contraband items worth N296, 500, 000. This clearly shows that the base remains resolute to continuously and decisively deal with smugglers who continue to bring in contrabands while ignoring the attendant damage smuggling causes to the nation’s economy.’’
The Commander, Border Drill and Superintendent of Customs, Ali Madaki, who received the suspects and contraband items promised to investigate and prosecute the suspects.