The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, FOB, Ibaka in Akwa Ibom, has arrested two alleged smugglers, seized 38 bags of parboiled rice, and impounded the boat used in smuggling them.
The Commanding Officer, FOB, Uche Aneke, made this disclosure on Monday while handing over the suspects and the rice to the Nigerian Customs Service in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of the state.
Aneke, who said the suspects were arrested on January 4 at about 8.30 am, said intelligence revealed that a boat was conveying some foreign parboiled rice suspected to have been smuggled from Cameroon to Nigerian and transiting within the waters under the FOB Ibaka Area of Responsibility.
“Consequently, the gunboats from the Base on routine patrols, through a stop and search operation, were able to intercept two suspected smugglers in a fibre boat that contained 38 bags of 50kg contraband foreign parboiled rice.
“They were concealed under nine 250ltrs empty drums covered with a canopy,” Aneke said.
According to the Commanding Officer, FOB Ibaka under the Eastern Naval Command would continue to detect criminals with advanced surveillance equipment and ensure their arrest and prosecution.
He warned individuals or groups interested in smuggling illegal consignments into or out of Nigeria or planning to carry out any form of criminality in Nigeria’s territorial waters to desist forthwith, stressing that Nigerian waters and coastal areas are not for illegal activities.