Navy arrest rice smugglers in Akwa Ibom

Navy arrest rice smugglers in Akwa Ibom

The Nigerian Navy , Forward Operating Base , Ibaka , in the Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, said on Thursday that it had arrested five suspected smugglers and seized 370 bags of smuggled rice from them .
The suspects were arrested in a wooden boat on Sunday , August 12, 2019, during a routine anti-smuggling patrol carried out by operatives of the base .
The Commanding Officer , FOB , Captain Toritseju Vincent , while handing over the suspects and the seized items to the Nigeria Customs Service in Ibaka on Thursday , said the navy had made consistent seizure of smuggled rice in its drive to accomplish its anti-smuggling patrol functions .
Vincent said, “One of our major functions in the Nigerian Navy is anti-smuggling patrol , and with our cooperation with the Nigeria Customs Service , we have consistently seized smuggled rice from Cameroon into Nigeria .
“So , an arrest was made on Monday, August 12, 2019, of five suspects with a large wooden boat conveying 370 bags of rice. I want to use this opportunity to thank the Customs for the continuous and unwavering support to curb this menace.
“On behalf of the Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command , I hereby hand over these 370 bags of the smuggled rice to the Nigeria Customs Service . ”
The Chief Superintendent of the NCS , Akwa Ibom State, Olutola John , while receiving the suspects and the items , commended the navy for supporting the organisation in the campaign against smuggling .
John said the suspects, upon the completion of investigation , would be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others .
“I , on behalf of the Area Controller , Eastern Marine Command , Port Harcourt, hereby thank the Nigerian Navy for complementing the efforts of the Nigeria Customs Service in this command in doing its legal business activities in this area .
“We will continue to cooperate with our sister security agency , the navy , to end the illegal business activity of smuggling and influx of smuggled goods into the country .
“I can assure the public as well that as soon as the investigations are completed, the suspects will be charged and the goods will be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria . ”
One of the suspects, Sunday Robin , told our correspondent that he was hired to bring in the smuggled rice from Cameroon .
Robin , who hails from the Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom , stated that it was his first time in the business and that he was not aware that bringing in rice from Cameroon was against the law.
He stated , “I was hired as a water bailer by the owner of the rice, Mr Chimezie , to go to Cameroon and bring the rice for him . On my way back, I saw a navy gun boat and I was arrested after I told them that I was carrying 370 bags of rice. ”
“They took me down to the navy base and locked me up . This is my first time of being hired as a water bailer and I did not know that bringing in rice from Cameroon is wrong . ”

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