The Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, Captain Toritseju Vincent, on Monday handed 416 bags of 50kg contraband rice and six suspects to the Nigeria Customs Service.
The suspects were arrested by the Nigerian Navy during two different operations.
It was gathered that the wooden boat carrying the first set of 223 bags of 50kg rice was intercepted in the early hours of April, 28, 2019, by officials of the Navy, but no arrest was made as the driver of the boat escaped. If you want to join NCS, is instruction for the ongoing Nigeria Customs Recruitment
The second boat, carrying 193 bags of 50kg rice, was intercepted and six suspects were reportedly arrested.
Other items seized were two pumping machines and two outboard engines.
Speaking in Ibaka while handing over the items, Captain Vincent said smuggling of rice was inimical to the growth of Nigeria’s economy.
He promised that the Nigerian Navy would leave no stone unturned to stop smuggling and promote government’s drive towards the production of local rice.
“On behalf of the Flag Officer Commanding of the Eastern Naval Command, I hereby hand over 223 bags of Habiba rice seized in the early hours of April 28, 2019.
“It was unaccompanied because the suspects abandoned the boat and the products, the pumping machine and an outboard engine. On the same day, we also intercepted another boat with six suspects.
“I am officially handing over the suspects, the boat, pumping machine and outboard engine to you, the Nigeria Customs, along with 193 bags of Marori Benze rice, which we believe was brought in from the Republic of Cameroon.
“We thank you for your cooperation, diligence and interaction in assisting us with these anti-smuggling operations. We would continue to do our best to promote the Federal Government’s drive in promoting our local rice production.
“These anti-smuggling activities are inimical to the growth of our own rice industry. So, we will continue to do our duty to make sure we nip it in the bud and bring it to a complete halt.
The Zonal Commander, Nigeria Customs Service, Kolade Iloyode, who received the suspects and bags of rice, promised that the suspects would be handed over for prosecution to serve as a deterrent to others.