By Emmanuel Una – Calabar
A giant wooden boat laden with one thousand two hundred and twenty-one bags of foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country has been impounded by Nigerian Navy Ship, Victory in Calabar
The snuggled rice along with seven suspected crew members was on Wednesday handed over to Nigerian Customs Service Anti Snuggling Taskforce for further investigation and prosecution.
Handing over the suspected crewmen and the rice to the Customs Service officials, Commodore Vincent Okeke, Commander NNS Victory said the Nigerian Navy has zero-tolerance for criminality and warned smugglers and oil pipeline vandals to steer clear of Nigerian territorial waters while carrying out their nefarious activities.
“Let me warn all smugglers and criminally-minded elements to desists from acts of criminality especially within the NNS Victory Area of operations or they would be made to face the consequences of their action” Commodore Okeke warned
He said smuggling is an economic crime against the country which accounts for the closure of both land and maritime borders in the country and anyone who is not ready to obey would be made to face the wrath of the law
Commodore Okeke said the total value of rice seized is thirty-four million, four hundred and fifty thousand naira stating that the command will not relent in its efforts in safeguarding the territorial waters under its control
” Between January and now, the Base has recorded eighteen arrests of wooden boats of various sizes and eighty-seven suspects along with contraband items worth three hundred million naira”.
He said the recent arrest should serve as a deterrent to smugglers and others with criminal intentions as the Command is prepared to obey the instructions of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas to the latter by impounding ships and boats involved in smuggling and criminal activities