The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka says it arrested 10 suspected smugglers and seized 676 bags of 50kg rice between Jan. 18 and Jan. 19.
Captain Peter Yilme, FOB Commanding Officer told newsmen on Tuesday in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom.
Yilme said the Navy gunboat patrol team intercepted the suspects and the foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from the Republic of Cameroon on two separate operations.
He said that the suspects were arrested around Unyenge creek and Parrot Island and two medium wooden boats were seized during the operation.
He however, said that some of the suspects jumped overboard on sighting the Navy patrol boats.
The FOB commanding officer who handed over the suspects and 676 smuggled bags rice to Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said that the smugglers had become more daring in the trade.
“The smugglers are becoming more daring in their illicit activities, the operating base will not relent on its efforts to rid her area of all forms of nefarious crimes,
“FOB will not relent in its efforts to put an end to illegal activities on the water ways,” Yilme said.
He commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ibas and the Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, Rear Adm. David Adeniran for their encouragement, support and the approval of materials for the base.
The Assistant Superintendent of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) received the suspects and items from the Navy.
One of the suspects, Sunday Asuquo from Oron local government area said he was arrested while bringing rice from Bakassi to Oron.
Another suspect, identified as Eyo, a motorcyclist said his motorcycle was faulty, since he had no money to repair it; he took the offer to carry the rice.
“I was bringing rice from Bakassi to Oron when the Navy arrested me. This is my first time; I am a motorcyclist but my motorbike had accident,
“The money I had, I used to bury my brother, after that I did not have money again. The owner of the rice promised to pay me N6,000,” he said.
Another suspect, Ezekiel Williams from Oron LGA said he was carrying rice from Ataobong to Udung Uko when he was arrested by the Navy.
Williams who also claimed it was the first time said he was promised N6,000 to carry the rice. (NAN)