The Eastern Command of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said the Nigerian Navy had assisted in intercepting two boats laden with smuggled rice in Calabar, Cross River.
Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Command of the NCS, Julius Uzowuru, said this in a statement on Monday, a copy of which was made available to SHIPS & PORTS DAILY.
He said that the synergy and inter-agency collaboration between the Eastern Marine Command of the NCS and the Eastern Naval Command of the Nigeria Navy had yielded result.
“The seizure of rice, which was made recently on the high sea by the captain of a Naval Ship, Navy Commander A. O. Ojebode of the Eastern Naval Command between Cameroon and Nigerian border, was carefully concealed in two boats conveying 30 passengers among who were eight Cameroonians and 13 Nigerians.
“Meanwhile, the seizure have since been handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service in Calabar, while the passengers of the boats were in same vein handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service for further investigation,” the statement said.
Uzowuru said the Customs Area Controller of Eastern Marine Command, Comptroller Usman Bello, had solicited that the Navy should assist the NCS in effecting seizures of contraband goods on the high seas.
Bello said this during the 2016 Obangame Exercise organised in Calabar by the Nigerian Navy which comprised other law enforcement agencies and the media
Expressing his delight at the seizure, Bello thanked the Nigerian Navy for a successful synergy and co-operation so far.
He decried the inability of his command to patrol the high seas due to lack of sea -going vessel at the moment.
The controller appealed for continued assistance from the Navy in the collaboration exercise and reiterated the need to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum especially on the high seas within the Eastern marine Command.
Bello also expressed gratitude to the outgoing Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) the Eastern Naval Command, Calabar, Rear Adm. Atiku Abdulkadir for the sustained co-operation and synergy between the Navy and Customs.
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