Navy seizes drums of diesel, parades 12 suspects, smuggled rice in Akwa Ibom
The Forward Operating Base of the Nigerian Navy in Ibaka, Mbo Local Council of Akwa Ibom State has confiscated 50 drum of illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (popularly known as diesel) and paraded 12 suspects and 486 bags of smuggled rice.
This comes as the military base’s new commanding officer, Captain Peter Yilme, cautioned smugglers to turn a new leaf, as the command was determined to end their nefarious acts on the country’s waterways.
Handing over the impounded items yesterday to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Yilme stated that the arrests were made within two days of his resumption of office.
Represented by Lieutenant Commander Kareem Yusuf, the naval chief said the arrests were made in three different operations involving five suspects each with 209 and 277 bags of 50 kilogrammes of rice and two culprits with 50 drums of illegal AGO.
He said: “On behalf of the Flag Officer Commanding the Eastern Naval Command, I hand over 486 bags of smuggled rice and 10 suspects to the Nigeria Customs Service. I also hand over two suspects and 50 drums of AGO to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.”
Responding, the Deputy Superintendent of Customs, Alabi Adedokun, commended the navy for sustaining the existing cooperation between the two organisations.
Also, the Divisonal Officer of the NSCDC in charge of the council area, James Essien, lauded the naval team for its efforts in combating smuggling.
He said: “On behalf of the State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Akwa Ibom Command, Adeyinka Fasiu, I hereby take over the two suspects and 50 drums of 300 litres of AGO from the Nigerian Navy.
“We commend the navy for collaborating with us and making sure that the illegalities in the water ways are (being) checkmated. We will do all the necessary things to make sure that the culprits are brought to book.”
One of the suspects, Bright Okon, a fisherman and indigene of Udung Uko who has lived in Bakassi for close to 20 years, claimed that he was only a passenger on the boat as at the time of its seizure.
He denied being involved in smuggling, stating that he was on his way to Oron to see his wife and new born.
The second and captain of one of the boats, Ini Asuquo, said he was paid N20,000 by one Mr. Samuel, the owner of the rice, to ferry the product from Cameroun to Nigeria.