The Nigerian Navy Arrest Smugglers, Hand-Over Smuggled Goods To The Custom
The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, in the Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has arrested eight suspected smugglers and seized 642 bags of rice, four outboard engines, a water pumping machine and two wooden boats.
The eight suspects, who were reported to be Nigerians, were arrested on Friday when they allegedly made their voyage back to the country’s waterways with the contraband product from the Republic of Cameroon.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Navy Captain Yusuf Idris, in Ibaka on Saturday warned smugglers to stay out of the Nigerian maritime environment.
He said, “About two months ago, the arrest of suspects and seizures of contraband items were almost a weekly affair. Whenever we went out into the seas, we made arrests.
“Within that period, I advised the maritime offenders to keep away from the nation’s maritime environment, especially the Eastern flank. I am happy to an extent that some smugglers listened to this warning. This is not unconnected with the reduction in the level of criminality on our waterways.
“Nevertheless, we want to put a total stop to it. Under this leadership of the naval high command, we have zero tolerance for all forms of maritime offences.”
While handing over the suspects and the items to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Idris assured Nigerians that the navy would continue to support the NCS to rid the country’s waterways of contraband and dangerous products.
The Assistant Comptroller, Eastern Marine, Oron House Station, Auwal Ali, who represented the Comptroller, Eastern Marine Command, NCS, Port Harcourt, Ajiya Masaya, thanked the navy for being proactive.
He said, “We can say gladly that the navy is assisting the Customs in fighting smuggling. I wish to thank the Navy for a job well done on behalf of my comptroller. He has instructed that I should take the suspects and the seized items from the Navy.”
One of the suspects, Bruno Owobiakuno, who claimed the voyage was his first, said he and his team were arrested by the navy when they entered Ebughu, in the Mbo LGA, Akwa Ibom State.