The Nigerian Navy fight against smuggling activities on the waterways has continued unabated as the command has arrested five suspects and impounded 4 boats. The Navy also impounded 692 bags of foreign rice and 181 drums of PMS (petrol). The suspects, who were arrested in two separate locations around Fairway Buoy and Tom Shot Island, include Clement Okon Chali, Michael Ita Effiong, Felix Sunday, Aniefiok Effiong and Sunday Etim Bassey. Speaking while handing over the suspects and goods to the Team Leader Operation Swift Response’s team leader, the Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory, Rear Admiral Vincent Okeke, valued the goods at N75, 321, 250.00. He said the suspected foreign parboiled rice were loaded from Wovia and destined for Oron in Akwa Ibom before the arrest. “On Sunday January 19, 2020, NNS VICTORY patrol team arrested five suspects and four medium-sized wooden boats around Calabar Fairway Buoy and Tom Shot Island. “Two of the boats were laden with bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from Cameroon while the remaining two were laden with drums of PMS. “The boats and five crew members were escorted to the base and 692 bags of different foreign rice brands and 181 drums of PMS were recovered”, he said.
According to him, within the last two months, the base has recorded 13 major arrests and seized goods worth N296, 500,000.00. This, he said, shows how committed the Navy is in dealing with smugglers as well as enforcing the mandate of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral IE Ibas, which is to rid the maritime domain of all vices. He added that anyone who tries to defy the grand strategic objectives of the present administration policy of promoting local rice production and food security would face the law. Responding shortly after receiving the suspects and goods, the Team Leader Operation Swift Response, Ali Madaki, said the suspects would be handed over to the legal department for prosecution. On the seized goods, he disclosed that they will be kept at the government warehouse pending further directives from the headquarters.
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