Men of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Victory, Calabar, have seized 3039 bags of contraband foreign rice worth about N46 million in Bakassi local government area of Cross River State.
Commander of NNS Victory, Commodore Julius Nwagu, who said the seizure is the largest so far by the Navy in the State, pledged they will continue to add momentum to the war against importation of foreign rice.
Nwagu said as part of the fight, they will soon move into the markets to mop up foreign rice.
Conducting reporters round the seized items at the Government Warehouse, Customs Yard in Calabar, Nwagu said was smuggled into Nigeria from Cameroon through Effiong Nsung community in Bakassi.
“The Navy apprehended one Lawrence Onaka alongside 3039 bags of rice, four trucks used in conveying the rice alongside four outboard engines and those goods alongside the suspect have been handed over to the officials of the NIgerian customs service.The value of the rice is about 46 million” he said.
The Commander said that the Navy has zero tolerance for all forms of criminality in the nation’s waterways and will continue to collaborate with sister security agencies to fight such illegalities.
“This is the first time the Nigerian Navy has extended its tentacles to the Bakassi waters and we are going to sustain it. I want to use this opportunity to advise our traders that sooner than later we are going to move into the market shop by shop to get every foreign rice because they are banned. The Navy will continue to ensure that we implement governments policies and there is no going back on it,” Nwagu said.
Speaking while receiving the suspect as well as the items, the Assistant Controller of Customs, Eastern Marine Command, Joshua Omachi, said the Command will continue partnering with sister agencies to end the problem of smuggling.
He said so far this year, about 14,000 bags of 50kg parboiled rice have been seized in the state and reaffirmed the determination of the command to end all forms of criminalities.
He disclosed that as soon as investigations are completed the suspect will be charged to court and the goods will be forfeited.
The suspect, Lawrence Omaka, said he got into the business in order to feed his children.