Officers of the Nigerian Navy Ship Victory have arrested eight suspected rice smugglers, among them a 16-year-old, and seized 1522 bags of foreign rice valued at N73 million in separate operations.
Speaking while handing over the suspects and the contraband goods to the Nigeria Customs in Calabar on Wednesday, the Commander of NNS Victory, Commodore Idi Abbas, said that in the first operation last Friday, the patrol team intercepted two fibre boats while approaching Parrot Island each laden with about forty bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from Cameroon.
He said each of the fibre boats had two crew members, making a total of four persons. The suspects, who are all Nigerians, were identified as Orisamakin Ademibo, Victor Effiong Iseme, Bassey Sunday and Joseph Asuquo.
In the second operation on Sunday, August 30, Commodore Abbas said, NNS Victory patrol team on routine patrol round Tom Shot Island Breakwaters by Agbana-West along Calabar Channel intercepted and arrested a wooden boat laden with 1482 bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to have been smuggled from Cameroon.
“The wooden boat smuggled the bags of rice from Dimbola Fishing Port in Limbe in the Republic of Cameroon and destined for Oron in Akwa Ibom State before the interception and eventual arrest. The boat had four crew members, all Nigerians, ”he said.
The suspects were identified as Effiong Asuquo Edet, Nathan Andrew Samuel, Victor Okon Asuquo and Peter Samuel Hezekiah.