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Navy arrests 20 suspects, seizes 1, 425 bags of rice

The Nigerian Navy in Akwa Ibom State has arrested 20 suspects and seized 1,425 bags of smuggled rice. While handing over the suspects and items…

The Nigerian Navy in Akwa Ibom State has arrested 20 suspects and seized 1,425 bags of smuggled rice.

While handing over the suspects and items to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), the Commanding Officer of the Forward Operating Base (FOB), Ibaka, Mbo local Government Area, Captain Peter Yilme, said the  arrests were made in four different operations between November 12 and 18 and 4 wooden boats used to carry the smuggled rice have also been seized.

Yilme, who was represented by the Base Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Kabiru Yusuf, said the base, in the last one month handed over 3,800 bags of smuggled rice, 60 drums of illegally refined Automated Gas Oil (AGO), and 60 suspects to the Customs component of Operation Swift Response for necessary action.

One of the suspects, Peter Okon, a married man with three children from Okobo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, said joblessness led him to smuggle the rice.

He said it was his first time in smuggling rice and that the owner of the rice promised to pay him N2,000 to bring 200 bags of rice from Cameroon to Nigeria.

Another suspect, 23-year-old Samuel Etim from Oron Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State said he was not involved in smuggling the seized rice.

“I don’t know anything about the rice. I joined the  boat, carrying the rice from Bakassi because I didn’t have money to pay for my fares,” he said.

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