The Nigeria Navy has seized 15, 162 bags of smuggled foreign parboiled rice worth N247.9 million in Calabar, Cross River State, since February this year.
Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Victory in Calabar, Commodore Julius Nwagu, made the disclosure while handing over 719 bags of the smuggled rice and six suspects to the Nigeria Customs Service at the Victory jetty in Calabar.
Nwagu said the suspects were arrested in a large wooden boat, around the Oron-Ibaka waterfront, adding that the 719 bags of rice were valued at N16.5 million at N16, 000 per bag street rice.
He said, “What is important is the fight the Nigerian Navy has instituted in ensuring that the policy of the Federal Government that local farming and production of rice should be sustained. And in doing that in accordance with our policing roles, we have intensified patrols on our waters to ensure that the FG policy stands. And we are not relenting.
“We have even gone a stage further now to writing individuals that these suspects mention; talking about the main owners of the rice. We have written to them inviting them for an interview. If they fail to appear, we are going to declare them wanted. That is the extent we are going to carry out this drive in ensuring that FG policies are not just swept under the carpet.
“As a responsible service, the Nigerian Navy is putting in a lot in ensuring that our maritime domain capability and maritime corridors and well protected and people go about their legitimate businesses. Those who want to get themselves involved in illegality we would make sure we clip their wings.”