The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Eastern Marine Command (EMC) has taken delivery of two boats laden with contraband.
The two boats, which were with foreign rice,were handed over to EMC by the Nigerian Navy that assisted in intercepting them.
The NCS said in a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer (PRO) in EMC, Mr. Julius Uzowuru that the synergy and inter-agency collaboration between the command and the Eastern Naval Command of the Nigeria Navy was responsible for the success the men and officers of the service recorded in the operation against the smugglers of the contraband.
Apparently elated by the development, the Comptroller General of Customs, Colonel Hameed Ibrahim Ali (retired) expressed his gratitude to the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-EteIbas, for the operational commitment and inter-agency co-operation exhibited by his officers in the arrest of the two boats laden with rice.
“The seizure of rice which was intercepted made recently on the high sea by the captain of a naval ship, Navy Commander AbiodunOjebode of the Eastern Naval Command between Cameroon and Nigerian border, was carefully concealed in two boats conveying 30 passengers among who were eight Cameroonians and 13 Nigerians,” Ali said.
According to the statement, the seizure has since been handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service in Calabar, while the passengers of the boats were in same vein handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) for further investigation.
The Customs Area Controller (CAC), EMC, Comptroller Usman Bello, had recently solicited for the support and co-operation of the Nigerian Navy to ensure that NCS succeed in the seizures of contraband on the high seas.
The CAC, who stated this during the 2016 Obangame Exercise organised in Calabar by the Nigerian Navy, which comprised other law enforcement agencies and the media, expressed delight at the seizures.
He commended Nigerian Navy for a successful synergy and co-operation so far, even as he decried the inability of his command to patrol the high seas due to lack of sea-going vessel at the moment.
The Customs Chief appealed for continued assistance from the Navy in the collaboration exercise and reiterated the need to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum especially on the high seas within the EMC.
He also expressed gratitude to the outgoing Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) the Eastern Naval Command, Calabar, Rear Admiral AtikuAbdulkadir for the sustained co-operation and synergy between the Navy and NCS just as he welcomed the new FOC and urged him to sustain the co-operation and collaboration gesture of his predecessor and wished him a successful tenure in office.