The Nigerian Navy has stated that in its efforts to rid the waterways of all forms of criminal activities to allow legitimate economic activities to strive, the heat on criminals operating in the country’s waterways will not be relaxed.
The Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, Akwa Ibom State, Captain Peter Yilme, made the pledge yesterday in Ibaka.
Speaking while handing over to the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) 316 drums of illegally acquired diesel seized from hoodlums at the Agbani Offshore, he warned those involved in illicit trades to repent and embrace legitimate businesses.
He said the seized drums which contained 300 litres of diesel each were being conveyed to the Republic of Cameroon, but were intercepted on March 8, 2020, at about 0400 hours during a routine patrol by the navy gunboats.
Yilme, who explained that on sighting the navy gunboats, the suspects abandoned the medium sized wooden boat used in carrying the product, lamented that the smugglers have continued with the illicit trade despite the navy efforts in making daily arrests.
He commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, for providing the necessary logistics to the Base which he said had enabled them in making numerous arrests and seizing smuggled goods.
The commanding officer noted that without the support of the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral David Adeniran, the Base would not be able to achieve its operational mandate.
According to him, “I hand over 316 drums of illegal refined diesel (containing 300 litres each) today, being March 12, 2020, to the Assistant Commandant of NSCDC, Bodinga Bawa.
“The arrest was made on March 8, 2020, at about 0400 hours at Agbani Offshore during routine patrol by FOB Ibaka gunboats. The suspects abandoned the medium sized wooden boat used in attempting to convey the product to the Republic of Cameroon.
“The unrelenting drive by smugglers in continuing their illicit acts persists even though FOB Ibaka continues to make arrests almost on a daily basis.
“Despite the persistence of illegal smugglers, FOB Ibaka will not relent in its efforts to rid the waterways within its area of operations of all forms of criminal activities in order for legitimate economic activities to strive.
“I strongly warn and advise those into illicit trade to turn a new leaf and embrace legitimate business activities.”
While taking over the drums of diesel, Assistant Commandant of NSCDC, Bawa, thanked FOB for being in the forefront to ensure that the border closure order of the federal government is maintained within its area of operation.
He urged them to ensure that goods are not smuggled out or into the country, adding that the necessary court processes will be followed and the outcome will be relayed back to the FOB for information.