The Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS) Victory of the Nigerian Navy in Calabar, Cross River State, says it has seized 15, 162 bags of foreign parboiled rice worth N247, 905, 000 since February this year.
Commander NNS Victory, Commodore Julius Nwagu, who disclosed this while handing over 719 bags of the contraband rice and six suspects to the Nigeria Customs Service at the Victory jetty in Calabar, said they were arrested in a large wooden boat, around the Oron-Ibaka waterfront.
He said the 719 bags were valued at N16.5 million at N16, 000 per bag street rice.
“What is important is the fight the Nigerian Navy has instituted in ensuring that the policy of the Federal Government that local farming and production of rice should be sustained. And in doing that in accordance with our policing roles, we have intensified patrols on our waters to ensure that the FG policy stands. And we are not relenting.
“We have even gone a stage further now to writing individuals that these suspects mention. Talking about the main owners of the rice. We have written to them inviting them for an interview if they fail to appear, we are going to declare them wanted. That is the extent we are going to carry out this drive in ensuring that FG policies are not just swept under the carpet.
“As a responsible service, the Nigerian Navy is putting in a lot in ensuring that our maritime domain capability and maritime corridors and well protected and people go about their legitimate businesses. Those who want to get themselves involved in illegality we would make sure we clip their wings,” Nwagu said.