The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, FOB, Ibaka, in Mbo local government area of Akwa Ibom State, has arrested 13 suspects and seized 2,053 bags of rice they smuggled into the state.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Captain Peter Yilme disclosed this while handing over the suspects and 50kg bags of rice to the Deputy Superintendent of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Garba Hassan.
Yilme who was represented by the Base Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Kabiru Yusuf, said the suspects were arrested on 26th and 29th January 2020 at respectively at the Unyenge Creek area in Mbo local government area, during a routine patrol by Navy gunboats.
He expressed worries over the unrelenting drive of the smugglers, noting that the recent arrests were made just three days after 5 suspects and 98 bags of rice were handed over to the NCS.
He reassured that the base will not relent in putting an end to illegalities on the waterways, and warned the rice smugglers to desist from the illicit act.
His words, “On behalf of the Commanding Officer, FOB, Ibaka, I hand over 2 053 bags of seized rice and 13 suspects to the Nigeria Customs Service.
“The arrest brings to fore the unrelenting drive of the smugglers to continue their illicit acts. Nevertheless, the Base will not relent in ridding 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 support and encouragement accorded her by the FOC Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral David Adeniran”.