Nigeria Navy arrests ‘foreigners’ for rice smuggling

From EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE Nigerian Navy has arrested an unspecified number of foreign nationals for allegedly smuggling rice into the country.The Navy, assisted by the Customs Command, intercepted boats laden with carefully concealed rice while the vessels were sailing on the high sea offshore the southern Rivers State.The foreigners’ nationalities have not been disclosed.However, they have been handed over to the Nigeria Immigration Service for further investigation while the rice has been given to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) for onward distribution to internally displaced people’s (IDPs) camps.They will no longer be auctioned to the public as has been the norm.Outgoing Controller in charge of the Customs Eastern Marine Command,Headquartered in Port Harcourt, River State, Usman Bello Kankara, said the constant synergy and inter-agency collaboration between his Command with military and other security agencies in the zone had yielded immeasurable results.“The excellent collaborations of agencies in the zone with persistent onslaught on smugglers drastically reduced smuggling of prohibited items through the waterways,” said Kankara. He said intelligence sharing and synergy, especially in the riverine areas, checkmated the activities of smugglers, pirates and pipeline vandals.Nigeria has banned rice imports to boost local production.

– CAJ News

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