The Nigerian Navy on Friday in Lagos handed over 35 bags of rice and five gallons of vegetable oil smuggled into the country to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The Naval Commander, Forward Operating Base (FOB), Capt. Tamuno Senibo, handed over the smuggled items at the base in Badagry, Lagos State.
He said that the goods were intercepted by naval operatives in Badagry — a border town with the Republic of Benin — on Nov. 15.
“During our routine patrol, we received a tip off and we intercepted some contraband suspected to be smuggled into the country.
“The suspects, on sighting our men, fled the scene and left the goods,” Senibo said.
He said his men were still on their trail, warning other smugglers to steer clear of Nigeria’s waterways or face the wrath of the law.
According to him, part of the mandate of the navy, apart from policing the waters, is to assist the customs service in checking smuggling through the country’s waterways.
“This is what we are doing and in line with the Harmonised Standard Operating Procedure (HSOP), we are handing over these items to the NCS for further investigation.
“What we have done is in line with the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok-Ette Ibas’s strategic guideline.
“My advice to criminals is for them to stay away from the country’s waterways, as there will no longer be any hiding place for them.
“They should turn a new leaf in their own interest,” he said.
Assistant Superintendent of Customs, Maxwell Lewis, who led a team of customs officers to take over the seized items, hailed the efforts of the navy.
Lewis urged the naval operatives not to relent in their efforts to curtail smuggling in the country.