The Commanding Officer, Navy Cpt. Toritseju Vincent, while handing over the suspects and bags of rice to the Nigeria Customs Service in Ibaka, said that the arrest was made in two separate operations on July 10.
Vincent said the navy patrol team arrested five suspects with 319 bags of 50kg rice and six others with 164 bags of 50kg rice in wooden boats coming from neighbouring Cameroon.
According to him, the intense patrol of the waterways has drastically helped to reduce smuggling in that axis for some months now.
“As we have always been doing, we will continue to secure your assistance and cooperation in our fight against illegalities.
“In the past months, there has been a drastic reduction in rice smuggling between Cameroon and Akwa Ibom.
“This is largely due to our efforts on the water. We will continue to intensify our patrols to nip this completely in the bud.
“So, on behalf of the Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, I hereby hand over these 5 suspects, 319 bags of rice and a wooden boat, as well as 6 suspects, 164 bags of rice and a wooden boat to the Nigeria customs service,” Vincent said.
The suspects and seized rice were handed over to Assistant Controller of Customs, Ali Garko.
“As part of the synergy that the Nigerian Navy has been having with the Nigeria customs, we wish to state that we are grateful for this kind gesture and wish it to continue so that we nip out smuggling,” Garko said.