Men of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Victory have arrested three suspects with 455 bags of smuggled parboiled rice worth N8 million along the Calabar channel.
Commander, NNS Victory, Commodore Vincent Okeke, who handed over the suspects and rice to the Nigeria Customs Service at their jetty in Calabar on Tuesday said they came in from Cameroon.
“The street value of the rice is about N8m. But like I said during the previous hand over, the value is not so significant. Put side by side the impact of smuggling on our economy, you will know that we should not focus on the value of rice. We should focus on the impact of smuggling on our economy, impact on unemployment, impact on the revenue that is supposed to accrue to the Federal Government.
“The Naval Staff has directed that we should strengthen our anti-smuggling efforts. That is what we are doing now. The message to the smugglers is that we won’t give up. We will get them arrested, hand them over to customs and they will most likely end up in prison custody.
“Since my resumption, there has not been any challenge. The Chief of Naval Staff has provided us with enabling logistics for our operations. The motivation for the smugglers is pecuniary gains. It can’t be more than that. They bring it at reduced cost and make profit. The arrest we have made has been traced to a particular name, one Mr. Emmanuel, a hotelier at Uyo. I want to believe that the Customs will track and apprehend him. We are making efforts not only to ensure reduction of crime in the maritime domain but also total elimination of crime,” Okeke said.
Assistant Comptroller of Customs, Eastern Marine Command, Johnson Gabriel, who laughed the Navy for good working relations said they were also intensifying efforts to check the menace of smuggling.