The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has seized 251 bags of contraband rice and a boat in the state.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Navy Capt. Suleiman Abdullahi, who disclosed this to journalists on Thursday, June 17, 2021, said the Smugglers on sighting the patrol team abandoned their rice in the boat and fled.
He said the way the smugglers abandoned their vessel and fled for fear of arrest proved that they knew that they were into illegal exercise.
Customs react, confirms clash between smugglers, officers in Iseyin
Handing over the contraband rice to the Nigeria Custom Service, Abdullahi emphasised that the base would not relent in eradicating illegalities on the Akwa Ibom waterways.
He said, “What you are witnessing here today is the handover of 251 bags of rice suspected to be smuggled into the Nigerian maritime border.
“By the directive of the Flag Officer Eastern Naval Command, Rear Adm. SK Ibrahim, we have zero tolerance for smuggling.
“We have carried out intensive patrol and on June 15, 2021, we seized one wooden boat and 251 bags of smuggled rice. On sighting the patrol team, the smugglers abandoned the rice inside the boat and flee to escape arrest.
“This is an indication of their awareness of the crime perpetrated by these suspects for them to have abandoned their boat and flee.
“I will like to use this opportunity to warn those maritime criminals that it is not going to be business as usual. That they should desist from their criminal ways and engage in gunuine business, otherwise the long arm of the law will catch up on them.”
The Commanding Officer warned smugglers to desist from illegal endeavors and engage in legitimate ones, stressing that it would not be business as usual for them.
Four reportedly shot dead as Customs clash with smugglers in Oyo [PHOTOS]
Receiving the 251 bags of rice on behalf of Nigerian Custom Service, the Comptroller of Custom, Sector 1 Port Harcourt, Shehu Abubakar, said the custom would ensure that smuggling was stopped in the country.
Abubakar, who was represented by the Superintendent of Custom, Border Drill Patrol Team, Oron Axis, Mustapha Ahmed, said the NCS would continue to check all economic sabotage in the country.