By Godspower Edoza
The Forward Operating Base (FOB) of Nigerian Navy at Ibaka, Akwa Ibom said it impounded 828 bags of contraband rice, two 40 horsepower outboard engines and the boats which were transporting the items.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Capt. Yusuf Idris disclosed this at Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday.
He said that the seizure was effected by personnel on patrol around Mbo river at about 20.48 hours on Saturday, July 14.
Idris said the suspects abandoned the contraband and the boat at Mbo bank when they sighted naval gunboat, adding that the contraband goods were transported into the country from the Republic of Cameroon.
He explained that the command would continue to hunt merchants of contraband rice as they refused to halt trade in illicit items, saying that the seized commodity ran into millions of Naira.
Idris said that the Nigerian Navy had resolved not to allow anybody or groups however powerful they may be, rob the Nigerian government of legitimate earnings.
He noted that “like we have always said in line with the harmonised standard procedures, I am handing over 828 bags of rice suspected to be smuggled into the country from Republic of Cameroon to Nigerian Customs Service.
He said, “We have warned people against smuggling of contraband items; we will continue to hunt them until they decide to stop.”
He, however, reiterated the command’s commitment to support and protect legitimate business owners in the maritime environment.
Idris said that the suspects would be handed over to the appropriate authority for prosecution, saying that the Nigerian Navy remained resolute and undeterred in carrying out their duties.
Ali Garko, the Customs Assistant Comptroller, Eastern Marine Command, thanked the Nigerian Navy for the support in fighting smuggling in the Nigerian maritime territory.