The Nigeria Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom has arrested 24 suspects and seized 1,831 bags of smuggled rice.
Capt. Peter Yilme, the Commanding Officer of the FOB, disclosed this to newsmen at Ibaka on Sunday.
Yilme said that five wooden boats used in smuggling the rice from the Republic of Cameroon, were also seized.
He said that the arrests were made during routine operations by operatives in the last one month.
Yilme was represented by the base Operations Officer, Lt.-Cdr. Kabiru Yusuf, during the handing over of the suspects and items to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
He said that the command would remain steadfast in fighting criminals on the Nigeria territorial waters in line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Dauda Garuba, an officer of the NCS, received the suspects and items from the navy.
Two of the suspects claimed that they were not told that they were to carry rice from Cameroon to Nigeria.
One of them claimed that he was told that he was going to convey fish.
He said that it was when the rice was loaded into the boat that he realised that he would not be conveying fish as told. (NAN)