Security personnel of the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory in Calabar have confiscated a large wooden boat laden with 2, 860 bags of contraband foreign rice worth over N50m.
The Navy also arrested five suspects who were found with the seized item.
Commander, NNS Victory, Commodore Julius Nwagu, who paraded the suspects and seized items in Calabar, said the arrest was made along the Calabar waterways by the anti-smuggling patrol of the base when they got intelligence reports about the activities of the suspected smugglers.
Nwagu, who was represented by the Executive Officer of NNS Victory, Navy Capt. Babafemi Ajayi, said the boat was suspected to have come in from Cameroon and headed for Calabar.
He said, “The boat was hidden with the intention that when it was dark, then they could use smaller boats to evacuate the products into their warehouse in Calabar. We stationed our patrolmen in that particular area and luckily we saw the five men when they wanted to carry out their assignment.
“They were arrested and further findings revealed their warehouse which when we got there, we discovered the consignments. So we evacuated everything here and escorted the boat to NNS Victory jetty.
“In total, we evacuated 2860 bags of foreign rice. In compliance to the extant rules everything has to be handed over to the Nigerian Customs Service for further prosecution.
“We warn all smugglers to desist. The money wasted on this is a great loss and the Navy is bent on ensuring that problem is stopped in the country. We implore these people to look for something else to do because it would not get them anywhere. We are resolved that we shall not allow this to persist within our area of responsibility. They would be the losers at the end.”
The Assistant Controller of Customs, representing the Eastern Marine Command based in Calabar, Mr. Omachi Joshua, who received the items and suspects, said the seized goods would be taken to the government warehouse while the suspects would be prosecuted according to laid down rules.
“The bags of rice are subsequently forfeited to the Federal Government and they would take the matter to court for condemnation and whatever the government issues is what we would follow,” he said.
Source : punch
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