The Nigeria Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) at Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom has arrested 24 suspects and seized 1,831 bags of smuggled rice.
The Commanding Officer of the FOB, Capt. Peter Yilme, made this to newsmen on Sunday at Ibaka.
According to him, five wooden boats used in smuggling the rice from the Republic of Cameroon, were also seized.
Yilme who was represented by the base Operations Officer, Lt.Cdr. Kabiru Yusuf, during the handing over of the suspects and items to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) said that the arrests were made during routine operations by operatives in the last one month.
He said that the command would remain steadfast in fighting criminals on the Nigeria territorial waters in line with the directive of the Chief of Naval Staff.
Meanwhile, the suspects and items were received by Mr. Dauda Garuba, an officer of the NCS.
Two of the suspects claimed that they were not told that they would be carrying rice from Cameroon to Nigeria adding that it only when rice was loaded into the boat that it became obvious that the cargo would be rice and fish as they had been told.