Judex Okoro, Calabar
The personnel of the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory has arrested four suspected smugglers and seized 309 drums of illegally refined AGO, 54 drums of PMS as well as 42 bags of rice in a series of operations within the last two weeks.
Handing over suspects and the items to the State Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Commander Danjuma Elisha at the Naval Base in Calabar, the commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory, Rear Admiral Vincent Okeke, said the arrests and seizures took place in four different operations within the past two weeks and gave the street value of the seized items at N22 million.
Represented by Captain Ibrahim Gwaska, an Executive Officer with the NNS Victory, Okeke said the command would not rest on its oars until out water ways are rid off of criminals.
.He said: “On Friday, March 13, 2020 at about 0930, NNS Victory patrol team on routine patrol intercepted and arrested a wooden boat with substances suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) at Calabar River Entrance enroute the Republic of Cameroon.
“The boat, crew and impounded product was escorted to the base and on arrival at the Base Jetty, 204 drums of AGO were offloaded. Investigations showed that the products were loaded from Ijaw Creek around Bonny Island in Rivers State and was heading to Wovia in Cameroon.
“Also on the same date and location, another boat laden with 105 drums of AGO was arrested and the suspects absconded on sighting the Base gunboats. Similarly, prior to this very arrest on 4 March 2020 the patrol team arrested 3 suspects and 54 drums of illegally refined PMS in a wooden boat at Agbana West Point by Tom Shot Island Breakwaters and were handed over to the Commandant of the NSCDC.
“In addition, on March 7, 2020 a wooden boat laden with 42 bags of rice was arrested albeit without suspects and the total market value of the items arrested is 22 million naira”, he said.
Speaking while receiving the suspects as well as the goods, the State Commandant of the NSCDC, Commander Danjuma Elisha, said the commandant will carry out further investigations and prosecution of the suspects.
The NSCDC, he said, has secured about seven convictions between January last year to March this year in a number of cases that had been handed over to then by the Nigerian Navy.
The suspected smugglers are all Nigerians and include Okon Asuquo Okon, Unwana Etim Nkereuwem, Ndundu Bassey Entom, and Victor Etim Effiok.