Navy seizes 927 bags of rice, arrests five smugglers
The Nigerian Navy in Calabar has made two separate seizures of 927 bags of contraband rice from suspected smugglers , who were bringing in the goods from Cameroon.
Five suspects were arrested in connection with one of the seizures on July 17 , 2019, while the suspects, who were conveying the rice seized in the first boat abandoned it and escaped into the creeks when they sighted a navy patrol boat on July 13 , 2019.
The arrested suspects were identified as Nseh Bassey , Edet Ise , Kufrey Sam, Stanley Clarence and Idongesit Effiong.
They claimed that the 502 bags of rice they were conveying belonged to one Ambrose December from the Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
From the first boat , 425 bags of rice were retrieved.
Handing over the suspects as well as the seized rice and boats valued at N 25 . 5 m at the jetty in Calabar , the Executive Officer of the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory , Navy Captain Ajomabi Oride , said , “ As you are all aware , we have been making several arrests and this is just another arrest.
“ We have about 927 bags of rice ; we have five suspects and two boats with outboard engines. We seized them in two separate arrests . One was on July 13 and the second one on July 17. The items seized are worth about N 25 . 5 m.
“ You can recall that the last arrest that was made before now was on June 11 , which is over a month ago , and it seemed it had subsided because the owners of the boats were arrested at that time . So, it was assumed that the business had gone down.
“ People accused the navy of making the price of rice in Calabar to increase because of the arrests . But one month now , we are seeing it resurfacing, which means there are new people going into the business.
“ We want to assure the new people going into the business that it is not a business they should go into , because it is actually draining the Nigerian economy in terms of the fact that when you bring foreign rice , the local one will not sell . Nonetheless , the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory remains resolute at curtailing these economic cankerworms. ”
The Assistant Comptroller of Customs in charge of the Eastern Marine Command , Johnson Gabriel , while receiving the seized contraband and the suspects , said , “ Once more , I am here to receive these seized rice , boats and suspects on behalf of the Nigeria Customs Service. Last week , there was a seizure in our sister station in Oron.
“ The battlefront has shifted to the Atlantic , Oron and Ibaka open waters . We have a lot of creeks there . So, the smugglers make use of these creeks because they know the terrain more than we do.”