• Wed. Apr 24th, 2024

Nigerian Navy Seizes 100 Bags Of Smuggled Rice And Burns 1,800 Jerrycans Of Petrol In Badagry

In a recent operation, the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base BADAGRY has seized a significant quantity of contraband goods and burned confiscated petrol. According to Captain Bitbobo Augustus Amakiri, the Commanding Officer of the base, the operation took place following intelligence received by the patrol team.

On Wednesday, March 13, 2024, at approximately 23:52, the patrol team conducted a cordon and search operation in Gbaji village along the Badagry Seme road. During the operation, they uncovered 100 bags of foreign parboiled rice, suspected to have been smuggled from Benin Republic, valued at N7,200,000. However, no suspects were apprehended as they fled upon sighting the patrol team. Despite searching adjoining communities, no further contraband or suspects were found.

Subsequently, on Thursday, March 21, 2024, Lieutenant Commander Bitrus Inuwa Zoaka, the Base Operations Officer, handed over the confiscated rice to Deputy Comptroller of Customs Istifanus Datsok Musa, in accordance with standard procedures. Additionally, 1,800 jerrycans filled with petrol, estimated at N36,180,000, were burned as a deterrent against smuggling activities in Badagry and beyond.

This operation aligns with the strategic directives set forth by Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla, Chief of the Naval Staff, and Rear Admiral Mustapha Bala Hassan, Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command. Operation WATER GUARD, launched on November 9, 2023, aims to curtail smuggling and criminal activities in the Badagry region, ensuring both security and economic stability.

In response to the recent interception and handover of contraband goods by the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base BADAGRY, the Controller of the Seme Customs Area Command, Comptroller Timi Bomodi who was represented by the Deputy Controller Enforcement, DC Istifanus Datsok Musa expressed appreciation for the collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and the Customs Service.

DC Istifanus Datsok Musa emphasized the importance of synergy among sister agencies in combating smuggling activities.

“We are here to receive 100 bags of rice that were seized by men of the Nigerian Navy who conducted an operation along the creeks of Gbagi within the Seme axis. This is to further enhance the existing relationship that we have with them. There is collaboration among the system agencies, where goods that are being smuggled can also be intercepted by any of the sister agencies and handed over to the appropriate agency for further investigation and possible prosecution.”

Highlighting the detrimental effects of smuggling on the economy, Musa underscored the significance of such interceptions. “Smuggling is affecting the economy,” he stated. “With all the economic situations of the country, importation of rice is one of the banned items that is not allowed to be smuggled into the country.”

Musa further assured that despite the absence of suspects, thorough investigations would be conducted, and the outcome would be communicated to the Nigerian Navy. This gesture not only acknowledges the Navy’s efforts but also reinforces the commitment to collaboration in combating smuggling activities.

Also speaking, the Base Operations Officer, Lieutenant Commander Bitrus Inuwa Zoaka emphasized the longstanding collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and the Customs Service.

Speaking alongside Comptroller Timi Bomodi, representing the Comptroller Seme Customs Area Command, Zoaka reiterated the importance of synergy among sister agencies in combating smuggling activities.

Zoaka clarified, “We have a good relationship with the Nigerian Customs. However, these rice were seized or intercepted by our force patrol team, and we are not the best sister force to handle this rice. As directed by the Chief of Naval Staff to the FOC Western Naval Command, my Commanding Officer, Captain Bitebobo Amakiri, instructed us to hand over this rice to the appropriate authority for further investigation.”

Highlighting the ongoing collaboration between the Navy and Customs, Zoaka emphasized the need to maintain this synergy. “The synergy has been ongoing for long; it is not just a one-off practice, and we want to keep it continually. That is why we have called them today to come and take what belongs to them.”

Regarding the absence of arrests, Zoaka explained, “There is no arrest because the moment they saw us, they all fled, knowing they would be arrested. This occurred at 23:59 in Gbaji Along Seme border.”

This coordinated effort between the Nigerian Navy and Customs Service underscores their commitment to combating smuggling activities and maintaining security along Nigeria’s borders.

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor

Hyacinth Beluchukwu Nwafor is a seasoned journalist and the CEO/Founder Belch Digital Communications, publishers of Hybrid News Nigeria.

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