Eight Rice smugglers arrested in Akwa Ibom and 608 bags seized

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Naval operatives attached to the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, have arrested eight suspected rice smugglers with 608 bags of 50kg rice.

The suspects were arrested in three different operations by Navy personnel on gunboats on February 6 and 7, 2020 with the rice loaded on three medium-sized boats.

Commanding Officer, FOB, Captain Peter Yilme, handed over the suspects and items on Monday in Ibaka to Superintendent of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Wasiu Adebowale.

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He warned the smugglers that the FOB will not relent in arresting them and ending illegal activities on the waterways as long as they don’t desist from the trade.

Receiving the suspects and items, SC Adebowale said, “I, Wasiu Adebowale have taken over 608 bags of 50kg of rice, eight suspects and three boats”.

Two of the suspects, Michael Okon and Joseph Etim, both from Akwa Ibom State, said they brought the rice from Cameroon.

Okon said it was his first time in the business, adding that he needed money to bury his mother.

“I went to Cameroon to buy rice, on my way back, Navy stopped me and brought me here. I don’t have money to bury my mum,” he said.

Joseph Etim said, “I just went to Cameroon to buy rice and on my way coming back, the Naval police arrested me. I don’t have somebody to help me so when I saw the opportunity, I went to Cameroon.”

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