The Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Victory has arrested a 16-year-old and seven other suspected smugglers of 1,522 bags of foreign bags of rice in Calabar, Cross River.
Speaking to journalists during the parade on Wednesday, the Commander, NNS Victory, Idi Abbas, disclosed that the suspects were intercepted in two batches.
Mr Abbas, a naval commodore, said the first group of four men were arrested on Sunday around Tom Short Island with a large wooden boat containing 1,482 bags of foreign parboiled rice.
He further revealed that the second group of four persons were arrested on August 28 with two fibre boats, containing 40 bags of foreign rice, suspected to have been smuggled from Cameroon.
According to him, the confiscated items and eight suspects were handed over to the Team Leader of Operation Border Drill for further investigations and prosecution.
“We have been up and doing as part of our patrol effort not only to check smuggling but also curb all forms of criminality within our water ways.
“We are aware that most times when kidnapping is carried out, the fastest way for them to escape is through the creeks, so we have placed our boats at vantage positions that you cannot go into the sea without being seen.
“We all know that times are hard but no matter how hard times are, there are other ways of earning a living legitimately,” he said.
Receiving the suspects and items, Superintendent of the Nigerian Customs Service, Chuks Ofilli, said the procedure of the service was to take the items confiscated to the government warehouse.
He said that the suspects would be handed over to the legal unit.