By Evelyn Usman
LAGOS—Suspected smugglers, who were bringing bags of rice from the Benin Republic into Nigeria through the Badagry waterways of Lagos, weekend, jumped into the river to evade arrest by naval personnel.
A wooden boat being used to ferry 80 bags of rice was abandoned by the suspects on sighting a Navy patrol vessel.
The Commanding Officer, Forward Operation Base, Badagry, Navy Captain Abdulhakeem Ojebode, addressed newsmen shortly before handing over the recovered bags of rice to personnel of the Nigeria Customs Services.
The bags and canoes.
He said personnel from the base, who were on patrol around Iyana-Ipaahi waterways around the Badagry creeks, sighted the boat, but before the patrol vessel arrived the location of the boat to investigate, the occupants had jumped into the river.
Ojebode said: “This operation goes in line with the roles of the Navy to protect the territorial waters of Nigeria and in supporting the Customs in her duty of ensuring that smugglers do not use our waterways to bring items adjudged to be contraband into the country.”
The Deputy Comptroller, Enforcement Western Marine Command of Customs, Mr. Usman Abubakar, commended the efforts of the Navy in checking criminality on the nation’s waterways through intelligence gathering.
He appealed for continuous assistance from the Navy and reiterated the need to checkmate the excesses of smugglers, particularly within the Western Marine Command of the Customs.
He warned smugglers to desist from using the route or have same fate befall them, as the Command, according to him, will not relent in dealing with persons who decide to test the will of the Customs and other security agencies.