The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area (LGA), of Akwa Ibom, has arrested five suspected smugglers and seized 98, 50kg bags of rice in the area.
Captain Peter Yilme, Commanding Officer, disclosed this while handing over the suspects and items to Garuba Hassan, Deputy Superintendent of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Thursday in Mbo, Akwa Ibom.
He said the suspects were arrested at the Agbani area during routine patrol by a Navy gunboat.
“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 in order for legitimate economic activities to thrive,’’ he said.
He stated that the continued arrests of suspects showed the unrelenting efforts of the smugglers to continue with their illicit trade in spite of repeated warnings.
Yilme advised the smugglers to turn a new leaf and embrace the many legitimate businesses in the state.
He commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ibas, and the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Adm. David Adeniran, for their encouragement, support and approval of working tools for the base.
The five suspects, however, denied any involvement in smuggling rice into the state.