The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom, has impounded 40 bags of smuggled rice and seized the boat used in smuggling them.
The Commanding Officer, Navy Capt. Muhammed Kabiru, made this known to newsmen in Ibaka on Wednesday while handing over the bags of rice to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Kabiru said the 40 bags of rice were seized from smugglers on Feb. 15 during routine patrol operations by the forward operating base.
He said that the smugglers abandoned the rice and the boat and fled on sighting the naval patrol team.
He assured that the base would not relent in putting an end to illegalities on the Akwa Ibom waterways.
Kabiru said that the seizure was on the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Auwul Gambo, on zero tolerance to all forms of criminalities on Nigerian maritime domain, particularly the smuggling of rice and crude oil theft.
He said, “On Feb. 15, 2022 at about 18:00 hours during our usual patrol to weed out all forms of illegalities within our areas of responsibility, we came across a boat suspected to be a smuggling boat.
“Upon sighting our gunboat, the crew jumped into the water and swam to the nearby creek, thereby escaping arrest.
“We have no option than to tow the boat to the base. The boat is here at the jetty with the outboard engine. The content of the boat has been discharged, which is 40 bags of 50kg of rice; they are here.
“So, I, Navy Capt. Muhammad Kabiru, Commanding Officer of FOB Ibaka, hereby hand over the content of the boat 40 bags of 50kg rice to Superintendent Kikems Danbana of Nigeria Customs Service, Joint Border Patrol Team, Oron axis, for further investigation and possible prosecution.”
He advised smugglers to relocate from the Nigerian maritime borders, adding that it would no longer be business as usual for them.
He urged those engaging in smuggling and other illegal businesses to engage themselves in legitimate endeavours.
Danbana, who received the 40 bags of rice on behalf of NCS, said the service was determined to stop smuggling in the country.
He also warned smugglers to desist from the illegal trade, stressing that the NCS would continue to checkmate economic sabotage in the country. (NAN)