The Nigerian Navy has intercepted another four Cameroonians and two Nigerians with 631 bags of smuggled rice.
The Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory, Rear Admiral Vincent Okeke, disclosed this to journalists in Calabar while handing over the suspects and the contraband to the Nigeria Customs Service.
He said the suspects were arrested while conveying the contraband from Cameroon to Nigeria in a wooden boat.
Okeke said, “On Saturday 28 December 2019, NNS Victory patrol team arrested six men suspected to be smugglers at Utan Creek, off Tom Shot Island.
“The suspects were arrested with a large wooden boat laden with bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to have been smuggled from Cameroon. Upon disembarkation at NNS Victory jetty, the Base recovered 631 bags of different foreign rice brands.
“Earlier on Thursday 26 December, 2019, another large wooden boat laden with 1,408 bags of foreign parboiled rice was arrested at Okposo Creek, off Tom Shot Island. On sighting NNS Victory patrol team, the boat crew absconded from the boat through the creek. Nonetheless, the boat was safely moved to Base where the 1,408 bags of rice were offloaded and kept under NNS victory custody,” he said.
He added that the NNS Victory patrol team also seized 50 bags of foreign rice at the Safe Journey Jetty recently but with no suspect arrested during the raid.
“This brings the total number of seized bags of rice that would be handed over the Task Force Leader of the Border Drill in Calabar area to 2,089. The total market value of the seized items is about N115,581,000,” he said.
Okeke added, “Base has intensified patrols to curb smuggling and other nefarious crimes within its area of operation. This is indicated by the fact that within the last nine weeks, the Base has recorded ten major arrests of contraband items.”
The Commander of the Border Drill and Superintendent of Customs, Madaki Ali, while receiving the suspects and the contraband, promised to carry out a thorough investigation after which the suspects will be prosecuted.
He lauded the efforts of the Navy and other security agencies in curbing smuggling and other crimes in the maritime corridor.
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