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Navy hands over smuggled rice to Customs in Badagry

He said the development would further strengthen the cordial relationship that existed between the Nigerian Navy, Customs and other sister agencies.

Lt Cdr. Bitus Zoaka, the Base Operating Officer, representing the Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base of Nigerian Navy, Badagry hands over papers and unspecified number of foreign rice seized by the command to DC ID Musa, the Officer in Charge of Enforcement, Seme Area Command on Wednesday in Badagry [NAN]

Lt Cdr Bitus Zoaka, the Base Operating Officer, representing the Commanding Officer, Navy Captain Augustus Amakiri, said the patrol team of the Base seized the rice on May 14.

According to him, at about 2.35 p.m. on May 14, the base patrol team on assignment to curb illegalities in the Area of Operations (AOO) intercepted some vehicles laden with large quantities of foreign rice at Aradagun, Badagry.

“The products were suspected to have been smuggled into Nigeria from Benin Republic.

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“No suspects were arrested as they fled on sighting our patrol team.

“The adjoining communities were also searched, but no smuggled products or suspects were found,” he said.

Zoaka said they were handing over the smuggled rice to the Seme Area Command of Nigeria Customs.

“This is in line with the Harmonised Standard Procedures on Arrest, Detention and Prosecution, 2016.

“In line with the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Adm. Emmanuel Ogalla’s mission, the Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Adm. Mustapha Hala Hassan on Nov.9, 2023 launched Opération Water Guard.

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“This operation is aimed at denying smugglers and other criminal elements the freedom of action within Western Naval Command AOO to ensure security and economic stability in the region while fulfilling the Nigerian Navy’s constitutional roles.

“Accordingly, these sustained efforts of FOB Base Badagry are all geared towards complying with CNS Strategic Directive 2023-6 which is to ensure a safe and secure operational environment in Nigeria and the Gulf of Guinea for economic activities to thrive,” he said.

Deputy Comptroller I D Musa, the Officer in Charge of Enforcement, Seme Area Command, received the seized items on behalf of the Area Controller of Customs, Comptroller Timi Bomodi.

He said there was no hiding place for smugglers any longer.

He said the development would further strengthen the cordial relationship that existed between the Nigerian Navy, Customs and other sister agencies.

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According to him, the seizure has sent a signal to smugglers that when agencies of government come together, there is no hiding place for smugglers.

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