By Ike Uchechukwu
The Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, Victory has arrested and handed over three suspected rice smugglers to the Area Command of the Nigeria Customs Service ,NCS ,of Cross River and Akwa Ibom .
Vanguard learned that the suspects, Friday Phillip , Christian Adebayor and Humble Etim-Edem were arrested with a wooden boat with 1209 smuggled bags of per boiled rice at Fairway bout.
Briefing journalists while handing over the smuggled rice and suspects to NCS, the Commander ,NNS Victory, ,Commodore. Chiedozie Okehie said the they were arrested 2NM South East of Calabar waterways around Fairway bouy.
The Commander represented by Base operations officer,Lt Commander ,Clement Ayogu as directed by the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command ,Rear Adm,Sanusi Ibrahim, disclosed that from their interrogations, the three suspects were bringing in the contraband items from Cameroon to Nigeria before they were intercepted by them.
“We intercepted and arrested three suspected smugglers with 1209 bags of per boiled rice ,with a wooden boat and 59 empty drums also used to smuggle petroleum products from Nigeria back to Cameroon.
“We are handing them over to the Nigeria Customs Service for onwards treatment and prosecution likewise the items( 1209 bag of rice).
“We are using this to sound a a not of warning to others who are involved in this illicit trade to desist as we are going to ensure that the waterways are safe and only for genuine business ..we are also assuring law abiding citizens who do business on that route to go about their lawful activities ,” he said .
On his part ,Deputy Commander Customs, Cross River / Akwa Ibom Area Command ,NCS , Mustapha Kaliel who received the suspects and seized rice commended the Nigeria Navy for a job well done .
Kaliel added that they would continue collaborating in making sure such illegal trade becomes a thing of the past .