Seizes 1,831 bags of rice in Akwa Ibom
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa and Okon Bassey in Uyo
Nigerian Navy said at the weekend that it destroyed at least six kidnappers’ dens and discovered several yards used for the production of large boats illegally deployed for the theft of crude oil in the Niger Delta region.
Also 24 suspects have been arrested and 1,831 bags of smuggled rice seized by the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom StateSpeaking during the ceremonial sunset, a symbolic closure of official activities of the Nigerian Navy for the year 2019, Flag Officer Commanding ( FOC) Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Suleiman Garba, noted that during the year, his men also arrested 146 suspects in connection with illegal oil bunkering.
During the ceremony which had traditional rulers, heads of sister agencies and representatives of host communities in attendance, Garba also disclosed that 214 illegal refineries as well as 454 boats used in carrying out illegal activities by the suspects were destroyed by the navy.
“It is gratifying to note that there has been a significant reduction in crimes in the command’s maritime environment. This is largely attributable to the robust implementation of the CNS strategic directive adopted by the command.
“Specifically, the command has destroyed 214 illegal refineries in Delta and Bayelsa states. Furthermore, 454 wooden and speeds boats that were involved in illegalities have been impounded and handed over to the relevant agencies. Similarly, intensive patrol embarked upon by the command led to the arrest of seven sea-going vessels and 146 suspects.
“Additionally, 20 persons were prosecuted in the court of law and awarded sentences ranging from fines and forfeitures. The highpoint of the command’s anti-maritime crime operation was the discovery of two construction yards for wooden boats which had 68 large boats under construction and the discovery of six kidnappers’ camps within Area of Responsibility (AOR) which were all destroyed,” he said.
Meanwhile, 24 suspects have been arrested and 1,831 bags of smuggled rice seized by the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base in Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking yesterday in Ibaka, Commanding Officer, FOB, Captain Peter Yilme, said five wooden boats used by the suspects in smuggling the 50kg bags of rice from the Republic of Cameroon were also impounded.
He said the arrests were made in four different operations by naval officers and men on routine patrol on the sea.
According to him, on November 27, four suspects were arrested with 294 bags of rice in a boat; on December5, eight suspects were arrested in a boat with 87 bags of rice, while on December 8 and 11 respectively, seven suspects were arrested in two boats with 1,270 bags of rice, and eight suspects in a boat with 172 bags of rice.
While handing over the suspects and items to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Yilme, who was represented by the Base Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Kabiru Yusuf, said the command would remain steadfast in fighting illegalities on the waterways in line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff.
“On behalf of the Commanding Officer, Captian Peter Yilme, I hand over 1,831 bags of rice and 24 suspects to the Superintendent of Customs, D. A. Garuba,” he said.
Receiving the 24 suspects and 1,831 bags of rice from the Nigerian Navy, Superintendent of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Dawuda A.Garuba, said: “On behalf of the border drill team, I, Superintendent of Customs, Dawuda A. Garba do hereby take over as stipulated in the handover notes.”