The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base at Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom has arrested 24 suspects and seized 1,831 bags of smuggled rice.
The Commanding Officer of the Forward Operating Base (FOB) Captain Peter Yilme, disclosed this to the newsmen at Ibaka on Sunday.
He said that five (5) wooden boats used in smuggling the rice from the Republic of Cameroon, were also seized.
He said that the arrests were made during routine operations by operatives in the last one month. The commanding officer was represented by the base Operations Officer, Lt.-Cdr. Kabiru Yusuf, during the handing over of the suspects and items to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
He said that the command would remain resolute in fighting criminals on the Nigeria territorial waters in line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr. Dauda Garuba, an officer of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), received the suspects and items from the Navy.
Two (2) of the suspects claimed that they were not told that they were to convey the rice from Cameroon to Nigeria. One of the suspects claimed that he was told that they were going to convey fish. He said that it was when the items were loaded into the boat that he realized that it was no longer rice.