By: PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
In continuation of the drive to end illegalities on the waterways, the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State has said that it has arrested six suspects and seized 1,439 bags of smuggled rice.
The arrests were made along the Unyenge, Effiat and Mendoro creeks in five different operations by officers on routine patrol on the waterways.
Speaking on Tuesday in Ibaka, Commanding Officer, FOB, Captain Peter Yilme said on January 13th 2020, two suspects were arrested with 803 bags of 50kg rice, while on January 2nd, 185 bags of rice were seized but the suspects escaped on siting the Navy gunboats.
He added that on December 26th 2019, 286 bags of rice were seized but the suspects escaped, while on December 23rd 2019, 2 suspects were arrested with 88 bags of rice and another 2 suspects with 77 bags of rice on the same day.
While handing over the suspects and items to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Yilme said the Command will remain steadfast in fighting illegalities on the waterways in line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff.
“I handover 1, 439 bags of rice and 6 suspects to the Superintendent of Customs, Garuba Hassan in line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff. We are committed to rid the waterways of all forms of illegalities.
“I commend the untiring efforts of the officers and ratings in ensuring the mandate and tasks of the Base are achieved. I also appreciate the immense effort of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral I. E. Ibas for providing the necessary platform and logistic support for the Base to carry out its operations,” he said
Deputy Superintendent of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Garuba Hassan received the 6 suspects and 1, 439 bags of rice from the Nigerian Navy.
One of the suspects, Wede John, a boat worker from Bayelsa State, said he normally transports fish and was carrying rice for the first time when he was arrested.