By Gom Mirian, Abuja
The Nigerian Armed Forces, through its ongoing Operations CALM WATERS and SWIFT RESPONSE have arrested eight suspects in connection with the smuggling of a total number of 894 bags of foreign parboiled rice.
According to a release issued by the Acting Director, Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Brigadier General Bernard Onyeuko, the suspects were arrested while trying to bring in the product on their wooden boats.
“The Forward Operating Base IBAKA anti-smuggling team intercepted and arrested a medium size wooden boat laden with 293 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice and 4 suspects.
“Similarly, the Nigerian Navy Ship VICTORY anti- smuggling team intercepted and arrested a wooden boat laden with 601x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from the Republic of Cameroon and 4 suspected smugglers at Agbami Platform.
Onyeuko said the total items recovered includes 2 x 90hp, 2 x40hp outboard engine and 4 x pumping machines.
Stating that the items recovered and suspects were handed over to the Department of Marine Police, Calabar, for further investigations and possible prosecution.
He reiterated that the earlier canelled Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS due to the Covid-19 pandemic has been reactivate with Exercise “Treasure Guard ll” to access the operational readiness of the fleet and bases.
“In the same vein, following the cancellation of Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2020 which was scheduled to hold from 21 – 26 Mar 20 due to the global spread of COVID-19 pandemic, in its place Exercise TREASURE GUARD II was reactivated on 21 Mar 20 with the same objective.
“The Exercise was activated at the Western Naval Command. The objective of the Exercise was to assess the operational readiness of the Western Naval Command, Fleet and bases”, the statement read.