No fewer than 13 people have been arrested with 2,053 bags of smuggled rice in Akwa Ibom.
WuzupNigeria reports that the 13 were nabbed by operatives of the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
The suspects were arrested at Unyenge Creek with 2,053 bags of rice in two different operations on the 26th and 29th respectively.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Captain Peter Yilme, who handed over the suspects and contraband to the Nigeria Customs Service [NCS] on Thursday at Ibaka, said the alleged criminals were arrested during a routine patrol by the Navy gunboats.
Yilme was represented by the Base Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Kabiru Yusuf. He commended the operatives for their efforts in checking illegal trades along the Waterways and urged them not to relent in their duties.
He added that the arrests were were made within three days after 5 suspects and 98 bags of rice were handed over to the NCS.
“On behalf of the Commanding Officer, FOB, Ibaka, I hand over 2 053 bags of seized rice and 13 suspects to DSC Garuba Hassan of the NCS.
“The arrest brings to fore the unrelenting drive of the smugglers to continue their illicit acts. Nevertheless, the Base will not relent in riding the waterways of all forms of criminal activities in order for legitimate economic activities to strive.
“Smugglers are advised to turn a new leaf and embrace legitimate business activities. FOB, Ibaka appreciates once again, the provision of necessary logistics to the Base by the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas.
“Additionally, the Base would not be achieving its operational mandate if not for the spport and encouragement accorded her by the FOC Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral David Adeniran,” he said
In his response after receiving the suspects, the Deputy Superintendent of Customs in Mbo LGA, Garuba Hassan, thanked the naval operatives for their cooperation and synergy in ensuring that illegal trades along the waterways are minimised in country.