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Navy arrests four suspects smuggling 202 bags of Rice into A-Ibom

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By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo

The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, Mbo local government area in Akwa Ibom State has arrested four suspects smuggling 202 bags of 50kg rice into Akwa Ibom State.

Nigerian Navy
The suspects who included three Nigerians and a Cameroonian were arrested on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, around Effiat waterways in Mbo local government area. 
The wooden boat conveying the contraband and suspects which was spotted during a routine patrol by Navy gunboats has also been seized. The Commanding Officer, FOB, Captain Peter Yilme who made this known yesterday in Ibaka during the hand-over of the items to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), said the arrest was the seventh the base has made within two weeks.
Yilme said that the Navy is determined to end smuggling on the waterways in line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff and in compliance with the reference of the FOB. Yilme who was represented by the Base Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Kabiru Yusuf said the arrested foreigner would be handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS.
 He assured that the Navy will intensify its riverine and land patrols to check every illegal trade and other forms of criminality on the waterways. “I hereby hand over one medium-sized wooden boat laden with 202 bags of rice arrested around Effiat waterways to the Nigeria Customs Service.
“The wooden boat along with its 4 crew were arrested at about 2005hrs on Tuesday, October  1, 2019, during a routine patrol by the Navy gunboats.  “The Base will not relent in curbing smuggling as well as other illegal activities by criminal elements on the waterways or inland.
“As they continue to devise new means of smuggling rice, FOB Ibaka will also intensify riverine and land patrols to ensure that illegal smuggling is stopped within its area of operation,” he stated. While receiving the 4 suspects and 202 bags of rice from the Nigerian Navy, Deputy Superintendent of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alabi, Adedokun commended the Navy for the cooperation existing between them, and for the consistent arrests.
He said, “On behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), I, Alabi, Adedokun take over the 4 suspects and 202 bags of foreign parboiled rice. On behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service, we thank you very much”. The 30-years-old Cameroonian identified as  Ejole Ebong, who works as a beach man said he left Cameroon on October 1 to avoid the crisis there but was unfortunate to join the boat carrying the rice.
 “I am a Cameroonian, I live in the English side of Cameroon. Yesterday was Octòber 1 and during this period, there is killing in the South West region of Cameroon.  “So I decided to come to Nigeria and stay for some time until everything is settled before I go back. This is my second time coming to Nigeria. I joined the boat carrying the Rice but did not know it is contraband here”, he confessed.

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