The Eastern Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy has seized 16,320 bags of smuggled rice following the closure of the nation’s land borders.
It also arrested 320 suspects and seized 19,989 metric tonnes of petroleum products as well as 30,843.8 metric tonnes of crude oil between January and November this year.
This was disclosed by the Flag Officer Commanding, Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral David Adeniran, in Calabar.
Adeniran said following the closure of the land borders by the Federal Government to forestall smuggling, the command witnessed an upsurge in the activities of smugglers trying to breach the sea borders on the eastern flank.
He stated, “Nevertheless, security patrols were intensified, especially on the eastern border, by officers and men of our units operating within the area in support of Mr President’s policy on border closure.
“This yielded tremendous results as evident in the arrest of several boats attempting to smuggle 16,773 bags of foreign rice worth hundreds of millions of naira.”
Adeniran, who appraised the achievements of the command in the past 11 months, attributed the successes recorded to the cooperation of the personnel.
He added, “The command improved her patrol efforts to reduce the activities of illegal refinery operations as well as pipeline vandalism/crude oil theft.
“Other areas are smuggling and piracy/sea robbery. Our efforts have led to the arrest of eight vessels, 145 large wooden boats, 320 persons and the seizure of 19,989 metric tonnes of petroleum products as well as 30,843.8 metric tonnes of crude oil.
“Furthermore, the command destroyed 128 illegal refineries between January and November 2019.”
He commended the naval personnel for the successful conduct of various operations, which he said resulted in the recent promotion of officers in the command as an adequate reward for their efforts.
Adeniran said with the support of the Chief of Naval Staff, the command launched the Eastern Naval Command Maritime Control Management System, which he noted has improved its ability to monitor criminals as well as share information.