Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Nigerian Navy Ship Victory have arrested six suspects including, four Cameroonians and two Nigerians, for smuggling activities across the borders.
The Navy also impounded 2,089 bags of smuggled foreign rice worth about N115,581,000 and two large wooden boats.
Briefing reporters on its December activities in Calabar, the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory, Rear Admiral Vincent Okeke, said the bags of rice were intercepted in three separate occasions in the past nine weeks.
Explaining, he said: “On Saturday, December 28, 2019, NNS Victory patrol team arrested 6 men suspected to be rice smugglers at Utan Creek off Tom Shot Island aboard a large wooden boat, and upon disembarkment recovered 631 bags of rice.
“Furthermore, earlier on Thursday, December 26, 2019, another large wooden boat laden with 1,408 of foreign parboiled rice was arrested at Okposo Creek off Tom Shot Island, and the suspects, on sighting the patrol team, absconded through the creeks.
“Similarly, following a tip-off, the base impounded 50 bags of rice on November 27, 2019, at the Safe Journey Jetty without suspects,” he said.
He added that in line with extant regulations, the six suspects, along with two large wooden boats and 2,089 bags of rice have been handed over to the Operation Swift Response for further investigation and possible prosecution.
He said the base is undeterred by the antics of the smugglers, particularly during the festive season, and has intensified its patrols which have resulted in 10 major arrests of contraband, including rice and illegally refined AGO worth 351,817, 000.
He maintained that the Nigerian Navy is committed to discharging its constitutional duties and also actualising the vision of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas, which is focused on enhancing national prosperity and security.
Commending the efforts of Navy to rid Nigerian waterways of smuggling, the Commander of Operation Swift Response, Ali Madaki, said the suspects would be prosecuted.
Madaki stated: “The suspects will be taken to the legal office for prosecution and proper arraignment in court, while the rice will be taken to a government warehouse for proper documentation and further action.”
The six suspects are Michael Samson and Kayode Isaac (Nigerians); and Tafili Redovili, Ayiseh Innocent, Making Emmanuel Achilles and Villa Earnest Nwana (Cameroonians).