The Nigerian Navy said it had intercepted a boat carrying 80 bags of rice allegedly smuggled into the country from Benin Republic through water ways.
A statement by the spokesman of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Lt. Elizabeth Ibrahim, said the operatives attached to its Forward Operation Base (FOB), Badagry, intercepted the 80 bags of rice.
“A wooden boat being used to ferry the bags of rice was also intercepted by naval operatives while on a patrol at the Iyana-Ipaahi water ways around the Badagry creeks.
“The Commanding Officer, FOB Badagry, Capt. Abdulhakeem Ojebode, who handed over the seized bags of rice to the personnel of the Nigerian Customs, said the suspects of the boat fled on sighting the naval operatives,” she said.
The statement quoted Ojebode as saying that the suspects abandoned the commodity and the boat and jumped into the river on sighting the Navy Patrol Vessel.
“This operation goes in line with the roles of the Navy to protect the territorial waters of Nigeria.
“The operation also goes in line in supporting the Nigerian Customs in its duty of ensuring that smugglers don’t use our waterways to bring items adjudged contraband into Nigeria,” Ojebode said.
Ojebode further stressed that he and his officers would not rest but put in more efforts in the fight against smuggling in the country so as to checkmate this vice.
The statement also quoted the Deputy Comptroller Enforcement, Western Marine Command, Nigerian Customs, Mr Usman Abubakar, as commending the efforts of the navy in checking criminality on the nation’s waterways.
“I hail the effectiveness of the navy’s intelligence gathering.
“I appeal for continuous assistance from the navy to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum in the country,” Abubakar said.
He warned smugglers to desist from sabotaging the efforts of the government in revamping the economy.
“The command will not relent in dealing with persons who decide to test the will of the customs and other security agencies,” he said.