By Emma Una – Calabar
Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, Victory has impounded bags of foreign parboiled rice illegally imported into the country through the Calabar Water Channel.
Rear Admiral Vincent Okeke, the Commander NNS Victory who paraded six suspects and the bags of rice at the naval base warehouse said the street value of the rice is estimated at one hundred and thirty million naira and stated that the rice was brought in from Cameroon through Calabar Water Channel.
“NNS Victory patrol team arrested six men suspected to be rice smugglers at Utan Creek, off Tomshort Island with a large wooden boat laden with foreign parboiled rice smuggled from Cameroon”.
He gave the names of the suspects to include for Cameroonians and one Nigerian: Tafili Redovili, Ayiseh Innocent, Makon Emmanuel Acillis, Billa Nwana, the Cameroonians and, Kayode Isaac, the Nigerian.
Rear Admiral Okeke revealed that before the arrest of the six suspects, his team had confronted another large wooden boat at Okposo Creek in Akwa Obom State also laden with illegally imported foreign rice.
“On sighting NNS Victory patrol team, the crew of the boat jumped into the sea and absconded, nonetheless, the boat was safely moved to our Base where one thousand, four hundred and eight bags of rice were offloaded and kept under our custody “.
He gave the total sum of items recovered by his team in the past nine months as worth three hundred and fifty-one million, eight hundred and seventeen thousand naira and threatened that anyone who tries to defy the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas directives that all illegal activities in the country’s territorial water must cease would be arrested and made to face the law.
“We are handing over the impounded rice to the leader of Operation Border Drill of the Nigerian Customs in Calabar along with the suspects and two large wooden boats for further investigations and prosecution “.