Nigerian Navy Commander, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom, Muhammed Kabiru said the navy seized 40 bags of smuggled rice along with the boat used to rice smuggling.
Kabiru, in a statement on Wednesday, said the sacks of rice were seized on February 15 during routine patrol operations.
He noted that no arrests have been made since the smugglers on seeing the naval patrol team abandoned the rice and the boat and fled.
The commander said the seizure was based on the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Auwul Gambo, of zero tolerance to all forms of crime on Nigeria’s maritime domain, especially smuggling of rice and the theft of crude oil.
He said: ‘We came across a suspected smuggling boat on sighting our gunboat. The crew jumped into the water and swam to the nearby cove, evading arrest.
“We have no choice but to tow the boat back to base. The boat is here at the pier with the outboard motor, the contents of the boat have been unloaded which includes 40 50kg sacks of rice,” he said.
He however handed over the seized items to Superintendent Kikems Danbana of the Nigeria Customs Service, Joint Border Patrol Team, Oron Axis for further investigation and prosecution and warned the perpetrators to refrain from smuggling.
Receiving the seized items on behalf of the Nigerian Customs Service, Mr. Danbana, Officer in Charge of the Oron Axis, Joint Border Patrol Team, said Customs would do everything possible to stop smuggling into the country.
Navy confiscates 40 bags of smuggled rice in Akwa Ibom