LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin.
Officers and men of the Nigerian Navy, Offa, Kwara State, have intercepted 825 bags of smuggled rice coming from Oyo State into Kwara State.
Addressing journalists while parading suspected smugglers and their commodity in Offa on Sunday evening, the Commandant Nigeria Navy School of Health Sciences, Captain Ayodele Ogunniyi Olowolagba, said that the arrest was made at about 5:00 am on Sunday.
“This morning at about 05:00 hours, while conducting checks at the old check point, opposite Nigerian Navy School of Health Sciences, Offa gate, (because we have both the right and left check points security in front of the school), 15 vehicles both Peugeot and golf cars were arrested.
“Each of them carried 55 bags of foreign rice, totalling 825 bags of rice. The commodities in the car were handed over to the police.
“Nigerian Navy is a friendly force. We are very friendly even with the immediate community. With the security services we carry around Offa and Kwara State, we would not do anything inimical to the success of all the activities of the government in power. We are committed to making sure that all the activities of the government are carried out peacefully. That is why all of us are here.
“We would hand over all the 15 vehicles with all the 825 bags of foreign rice to the Nigerian police in the presence of the Customs.”
Speaking further, the commandant said that the Nigerian Navy School of Health Science, Offa, has been conducting security test on designated check points situated along Ira Road, Oyun local government area, located in front of the school.
“This is part of our efforts to beef up security in Offa and its neighbouring towns. In the course of carrying this exercise daily, Nigerian Navy personnel have been encountering persons carrying illicit acts to the extent that they often threaten to deal with security personnel on official duty.
“Despite the threat, the personnel are uncompromising and resolute in carrying out their legal duties to the nation. This is despite the allegation by these smugglers that the Navy personnel are compromising. It should be noted that the personnel will support the Federal government in curbing this illicit act which impact negatively on the nation’s socioeconomic life.”
Speaking with journalists, one of the suspects who is the driver of one of the vehicles, Ahmad Mustafa, confessed to the crime, saying that he was coming from Shaki with the commodity for sale in Offa, Kwara State.
Mustafa who said that he was not the owner of the rice, added that he was sent by a man called Pilot who lives in Shaki.
He also said that he was plying the Offa road for the first time.