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Navy arrests 12 suspected smugglers in Akwa Ibom

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Commanding Officer of the Forward Operation Base of the Nigerian Navy at Ibaka in Mbo Local Council of Akwa Ibom State, Captain Peter Yilme, has paraded 12 suspected smugglers of rice.

He noted that the economic saboteurs were devising new ways of evading arrest, warning that the “Navy would not relent in curtailing the illegal trade, as 12 suspects were arrested in three different operations for smuggling 708 bags of 50 kilogrammes of rice.”

The commander spoke yesterday in Ibaka while handing over the suspects and the impounded items to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

The 12 males, which included a deaf and dumb, were arrested alongside the wooden boats used for the illicit act during a patrol around the Effiat waterways.

He said with the continued nabbing, smuggling had reduced, adding that the force was equally tackling the activities of pirates on the sea.
Represented by the Base Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Kabiru Yusuf, Yilme commended officers and ratings for their resilience and diligence, stating that their action was in line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff and the FOB.

“On behalf of the Commanding Officer, I am handing over 708 bags of smuggled rice and the suspects arrested by the Navy in three different operations to the Nigeria Customs Service,” he said.

Receiving the suspects and items, the Deputy Superintendent of Customs, Alabi Adedokun, commended the Navy for sustaining existing ties.

He said: “On behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), I, Alabi Adedokun, take over the 12 defendants and 708 bags of foreign parboiled rice. On behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, we thank you very much.”

Two of the suspects, who are brothers from Ondo State, said the desire to survive pushed them into the illegal trade.

They added that they were fishermen in Cameroun, noting that since their income was insufficient to cater for their families, they resorted to smuggling of the staple food.

The siblings further confessed that the owner of the rice was to pay them N15,000 each.


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