Posted by Nsa Gill, Calabar | 20 October 2019 | 697 times
The Nigerian Navy has handed over eight suspected smugglers of petroleum products along with the products, contained in 81 drums to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
The Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship Victory, Commodore Vincent Okeke handed over the suspects at the NNS Victory Base in Calabar.
In his statement, while handing over the suspects, he said, “On 12 September 2019, the NNS Victory patrol team intercepted and arrested three wooden boats laden with drums of substance suspected to be premium motor spirit. The boats had eight crew members and were intercepted offshore Ibaka while on outbound transit to Cameroon.
“The drums of suspected PMS were concealed under several empty drums all in a bid to evade arrest. However, after offloading at the Base, a total of 81 drums of PMS were recovered.”
He added that “These suspects were granted bail to afford the Base adequate time to investigate the matter. They were re-arrested on 15 October 2019 upon the establishment of a prima facie case against them.”
Commodore Okeke said the heightened monitoring of the nation’s maritime and land borders in accordance with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas, to stamp out smuggling activities led to the arrest of the suspects.
“In line with this directive, NNS Victory has continued to make several arrests. From 2018 to date, the Base has arrested a good number of wooden boats laden with about 21,000 bags of rice, and other contraband items valued at over N350 million. It is unfortunate that despite the relentless efforts of the Base, these suspected smugglers decided to test their luck. The present arrest of these suspects, therefore, further underscores the Base’s intolerance to smuggling activities within the Calabar waterways,” he said.
He said in line with extant regulations, “the confiscated items and the eight suspected smugglers are hereby handed over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps for further investigation and prosecution.”
Receiving the suspects and items, the Acting Commandant of NSCDC in charge of the state, Deputy Commandant Etom Ofem, said, “after completing our preliminary investigation, we will proceed to court immediately. The outcome of the investigation will determine exactly which way we will go.” (The Nation)
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