The Nigerian  Navy, Forward Operating Base, (FOB) Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom has arrested six suspected smugglers and seizes 1, 439 bags of smuggled rice between Dec. 23, 2019 to Jan. 13th, 2020 in the state.
Captain Peter Yilme, Commanding Officer of FOB said this while handing over the suspected smugglers and items to Nigeria Custom Service (NCS), on Tuesday in Mbo.
Yime said the command would remained steadfast in fighting illegalities on the waterways in line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Chief Admiral Ibok Ibas.
He however, said that some of smugglers escaped on siting the Navy gunboats.
The arrests were made along the Unyenge, Effiat and Mendoro creeks between Dec. 2019 and Jan 2020 by Navy officers and men on routine patrol in their gunboats.
“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 crime.
“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, for providing the necessary platform and logistics support for the Base to carry out its operations,” he said.
Responding, Deputy Superintendent of NCS Garuba Hassan received the 6 suspects and 1, 439 bags of rice from the Nigerian Navy.
One of the suspects, Wede John, from Bayelsa, said that he normally transports fish and was carrying rice for the first time when he was arrested.
He said, “I don’t know the owner of the rice and didn’t know that rice was loaded into the boat. This is my first time of carrying rice.
“I usually transport crayfish and dry fish to Oron Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom. I was carrying rice from Bakassi to Unyenge when I was arrested,” he said.
Another suspect, Mr Awagoyi Philp who is a boat driver said the owner of the rice promised to pay him N20,000  for carrying the rice but that he was yet to collect the money.
He said, “I drive boats and I was paid to drive the boat that carried the rice. This is my first time. The owner of the rice promised to pay me N20, 000 and is aware that I have been arrested”.


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