The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom, has seized 94, 800 litres of illegal Automative Gas Oil (AGO) at Agbani Offshore in Rivers.
Captain Peter Yilme, the Commanding Officer of FOB, stated this while handing over the items to Bodinga Bawa, the Assistant Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Mbo, Akwa Ibom.
“I hand over 316 drums of illegal refined AGO (containing 300 litres each) today to NSCDC,” Yilme said.
According to Yilme, the illegal AGO and the wooden boat were seized on March 8, 2020 during routine patrol by FOB Ibaka gunboats and that the product was being conveyed to the Republic of Cameroon.
“The seized drums of illegal AGO which contained 300 litres each were apprehended at about 0400 hours during a routine patrol by Navy gunboats.
“On sighting the Navy gunboats, the suspects abandoned the medium sized wooden boat used in attempting to convey the product to the Republic of Cameroon,” he said.
He lamented that the smugglers had continued with the illicit trade in spite of the FOB’s efforts in making daily arrests of suspected rice smugglers in the state.
He stated that the base would not relent in its efforts to rid the waterways of all forms of criminal activities in order for legitimate economic activities to strive.
Yilme warned those involved in the illicit trade to repent and embrace legitimate businesses else they would face the wrath of the law.
“I strongly warn and advise those into illicit trade to turn a new leaf and embrace legitimate business activities,” he stated.
He commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, for providing the necessary logistics to the base which had enabled in making numerous arrests and seizure of smuggled goods.
He noted that without the support of the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral David Adeniran, the base would not be able to achieve its operational mandate.
“The unrelenting drive by smugglers in continuing their illicit acts persists though the FOB Ibaka continues to make arrests almost on daily basis,” he said.
Responding, Bawa thanked the FOB for being in the fore front of ensuring the border closure ordered by the Federal Government was maintained within its area of operations.
He urged them to ensure that no goods were smuggled out or and into the country.
He added that the necessary court processes would be duly followed and the outcome relayed back to the FOB.