The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday said it arrested six Cameroonians smuggling 700 bags of parboiled foreign rice worth about N11.2 million into the country through the Calabar Channel.
Commander, NNS Victory, Commodore Julius Nwagu, added that seven Nigerians, acting in the capacity of accomplices, had been arrested alongside the Cameroonians, who were in the country without requisite papers.
Nwagu handed over the illegal immigrants to the Nigeria Immigration Service,(NIS) and the seized rice and Nigerians to the Nigerian Customs Service, (NCS), at the NNS Victory jetty in Calabar.
He said, “These six Cameroonians got involved in the smuggling of parboiled rice. They entered into Nigeria without the requisite papers thereby violating Nigeria’s immigration Laws. That is why I invited the NIS, in order to hand the suspects over to them, while the NCS will take over the rice and the other Nigerians who are involved in the smuggling.
“Christmas is coming and people want to make quick money by smuggling rice into the country but the Nigerian Navy is bent on ensuring that the Federal Government ban on importation of parboiled rice into the country is upheld.
“We would never allow it as a service, and under the able leadership of Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, we will not leave any stone unturned in ensuring that our policing roles are upheld. We have the available platforms to patrol the waters, especially in the Eastern flank here.”
While receiving the Cameroonians, Assistant Comptroller of Immigration in charge of the Marine Unit, Tsumba Terna, noted that anyone entering Nigeria must have the requisite papers.
He said they would be dealt with according to laid down procedures to handle such situations.
A Superintendent of Customs, Akpan Ime Edet, who received the contraband on behalf of Customs said the rice would be transferred to government warehouse, while the Nigeria suspects would face prosecution.