cross River, Niger Delta, Security

Militants, Smugglers Would Not Be Tolerated, Navy Warns


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The new Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Victory in Calabar, Cross River State, Commodore Vincent Okeke, has that warned militants, smugglers and oil bunkerers, would not be tolerated within his area of operation.

Okeke gave the warning when he addressed reporters at the NNS Victory jetty yesterday after handing over 724 bags of foreign rice worth about N13 million and eight suspects to the Nigeria Customs Service.

He said the suspects and items were arrested in two large wooden boats, popularly know as Cotonou Boat, along the Calabar Channel by his men on patrol

The Commander said they were heading for Akwa Ibom State from neighbouring Cameroon.

“We are handing them over as expected of us to the Customs for further investigations and prosecution. The message is clear. For this to happen shortly after my resumption means they want to test my will. I can promise them I am equal to the task. Militants, smugglers, bunkerers, they should all stay away. I will not tolerate any such thing in my area of operation.

“Our work here is to make our waters safe. We have maintained 24 hours patrol along the Calabar Channel. I assure all well-meaning Nigerians and seafarers that the water is safe for them,” he said.

Assistant Comptroller of Customs in charge of Eastern Marine Command Calabar, Gabriel Johnson, expressed delight at the relationship between the Navy and the Customs.

“We are very elated about the relationship with the Navy. These waterways are not safe for any smuggler. We would work hand in hand with the Navy to make sure they would not have their way,” he said.

He said there would be further investigation after which the suspects would be prosecuted and the bags of rice confiscated by the Federal Government.

Source; The Nation