The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka in Akwa Ibom says it has apprehended two alleged smugglers, siezed 38 bags of parboiled rice and impounded the boat used in smuggling them.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Navy Capt. Uche Aneke, disclosed this on Monday, while handing over the suspects and the rice to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of the state.
Aneke said that the suspects were arrested on January 4 at about 8.30 am.
He said that intelligence indicated that a boat was conveying some foreign parboiled rice suspected to have been smuggled from Cameroon to Nigerian and transiting within the waters under FOB Ibaka Area of Responsibility (AoR).
“Consequently, the gunboats from the Base on routine patrols, through a stop and search operation, were able to intercept two suspected smugglers in a fibre boat that contained 38 bags of 50kg contraband foreign parboiled rice.
“They were concealed under nine drums of 250ltrs empty drums covered with a canopy,” Aneke said.
Aneke said that FOB Ibaka under the Eastern Naval Command AoE, would continue to detect criminals with advanced surveillance equipment, ensure their arrest and prosecution.
He warned individual or groups interested in smuggling illegal consignments into or out of Nigeria, or planning to carry out any form of criminality in Nigeria’s territorial waters to desist forthwith.
According to him, Nigerian waters and coastal areas are not for illegal activities.
Receiving the two suspects, along with the seized items, the Superintendent of NCS, Bolaji Ajao, said that the team would take the suspects for further investigation and prosecution.
Ajao thanked the Nigerian Navy for their cooperation and support to NCS in combating smuggling in the country.
“Nigerian Navy has always supported us, we will continue to appreciate and support each other and work together,” he said