The Nigerian Navy, Forward Operating Base, Ibaka, Mbo local government area, Akwa Ibom State, say it has seized 316 drums of illegal Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) at the Agbani Offshore.
It added that the drums which contained 300 litres of AGO each were impounded on March 8, 2020 at about 0400 hours during a routine patrol by Navy gunboats.
The Commanding Officer of FOB, Captain Peter Yilme who disclosed this on Thursday in Ibaka while handing over the seized items to the Assistant Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Bodinga Bawa, said the product was being conveyed to the Republic of Cameroon.
Yilme explained that on sighting the Navy gunboats, the suspects abandoned the medium sized wooden boat used in carrying the AGO.
He lamented that the smugglers have continued with the illicit trade despite FOB’s efforts in making daily arrests.
He stated that the base will not relent in its efforts to rid the waterways of all forms of criminal activities in order for legitimate economic activities to strive, and warned those involved in the illicit trade to repent and embrace legitimate businesses.
He commended the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ete Ibas, for providing the necessary logistics to the Base which has enabled it in making numerous arrests and seizing smuggled goods.
He noted that without the support of the Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral David Adeniran, the Base would not be able to achieve its operational mandate.
His words, “I hand over 316 drums of illegally refined AGO (containing 300 litres each) today, 12th March 2020 to Assistant Commandant of Corps, Bodinga Bawa of the NSCDC.
“The arrest was made on 8 March 2020 at about 0400 hours at Agbani Offshore during routine patrol by FOB Ibaka gunboats. The suspects abandoned the medium sized wooden boat used in attempting to convey the product to the Republic of Cameroon.
“The unrelenting drive by smugglers in continuing their illicit acts persists even though FOB Ibaka continues to make arrests almost on daily basis.
“Despite the persistence of illegal smugglers, FOB Ibaka will not relent in its efforts to rid the waterways within its area of operations of all forms of criminal activities in order for legitimate economic activities to strive.
“I strongly warn and advise those into illicit trade to turn a new leaf and embrace legitimate business activities.”
While taking over the drums of AGO, Assistant Commandant, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Bodinga Bawa, thanked FOB for ensuring the border closure order of the Federal Government is maintained within its area of operation.
He urged them to ensure that no goods are smuggled out or and into the country, adding that the necessary court processes will be followed and the outcome relayed back to the FOB for information.