The Nigerian Navy Command has arrested six suspected rice smugglers in Akwa Ibom State.
The Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) also impounded 1,439 bags of smuggled rice between December 2019 and January 2020.
This was made known by the Commanding Officer, Forward Operating Base, in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Peter Yilme, in a statement last Wednesday.
Yilme said the suspects and the items impounded had been handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service in Mbo Local Government Area of the State.
The commanding officer, however, said some of the suspects escaped on sighting the Navy gunboats.
He said the command would remain steadfast in fighting illegalities on the waterways in line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff, Ibok Ibas.
Yilme said the arrests were made along the Unyenge, Effiat, and Mendoro creeks between December 2019 and January by Navy officers and men on routine patrol in their gunboats.
“I handed over 1,439 bags of rice and six suspects to the Superintendent of Customs, Garuba Hassan, in line with the directives of the Chief of Naval Staff.
“We are committed to rid the waterways of all forms of illegalities.
“I commend the untiring efforts of the officers and ratings in ensuring the mandate and tasks of the Base are achieved.
“I also appreciate the immense efforts of the Chief of Naval Staff, for providing the necessary platform and logistics support for the Base to carry out its operations,” Yilme said.
Confessing to the crime, a suspect from Bayelsa, Wede John, said that he usually transported fish and was carrying rice for the first time when he was arrested.
“I don’t know the owner of the rice and didn’t know that rice was loaded into the boat. This is my first time of carrying rice.
“I usually transport crayfish and dry fish to Oron Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom. I was carrying rice from Bakassi to Unyenge when I was arrested,” he said.
Also speaking, a suspect and boat driver, Awagoyi Philip, said the owner of the rice promised to pay him N20,000 for carrying the rice but that he was yet to collect the money.
“I drive boats and I was paid to drive the boat that carried the rice. This is my first time. The owner of the rice promised to pay me N 20,000 and is aware that I have been arrested”, he said.
NPA Board: Group Urges Buhari To Review Rickett’s Appointment
A Coalition of All Progressives Congress (APC) support groups in Cross River State, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to review the appointment of Mr Akin Rickett as Chairman, Governing Board, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The coalition made the call in a statement signed by its Chairman, Mr Iso Bassey and Secretary, Mr Edo Owan, in Abuja yesterday.
It urged the president to investigate the process through which Rickett was appointed.
“APC in Cross River has more than enough critical stakeholders, leaders and members, who contributed immensely and reasonably to the growth of the party.
“These relevant stakeholders have cognate experience in leadership and also sacrificed for the party, served the state and country in various capacities.
“APC would be facing a fresh general election in 2023, hence the need to give appointments to political assets and those that would build the party for victory and not to give appointments based on friendship and sentiments.
“And we also urge the president to always consult critical stakeholders in the state in the event of any appointments,” the coalition said.
Onne Port To Introduce Electronic Truck Call-Up System
The management of Onne Port in Rivers State has entered into partnership with the West Africa Container Terminal (WACT) to introduce Electronic Truck Call-Up System, to enhance its operations.
The port management said the Electronic Truck Call-Up system would enhance better traffic management in the port.
Manager, Onne Port, Alhasan Ismaila Abubakar, disclosed this in an interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, recently.
He said that the system would enhance truck operations from the trailer parks within the port complex.
Abubakar said Dangote Group was also remodelling its jetty at the Federal Operational Terminal (FOT) at the cost of $28.25 million with an export capacity of two million metric tons of clinker and import capacity of 0.75 million of gypsum.
According to him, both the export and import are expected to commence within the first quarter of 2020.
Abubakar said the port was currently undergoing expansion of its facilities to meet up with the growing bulk of urea export operation by Idorama Terminal.
He said that the urea export operation which is currently over 800 metric tons per annum, is expected to be sustained in 2020 and it was projected to reach two million tons by 2022.
By: Chinedu Wosu
725 Vessels Berthed At Onne Port In 2019-Port Manager
No fewer than 725 vessels of various capacities and sizes berthed in Onne Port in 2019.
This was as the port management said that there had been a reduction in terms of pirate attacks in the complex.
The port also received a general cargo of 535,336 metric tons in 2019.
This was made known to The Tide by the Manager, Onne Port, Alhasan Ismaila Abubakar, during an interview in his office, Onne Complex.
He expressed delight that the port now recorded high level of container traffics in the Eastern ports, especially in oil and gas and general industrial equipment.
Abubakar said the port now enjoyed a current permissible draft of 10.6 metres.
Describing the port as the largest trafficker of oil and gas in the region, the manager said, Onne was a multi purpose port across West Africa.
“We can handle all containers, general cargoes, including cars in Onne Port”, he said.
The port manager said the port in 2019 handled over 23,723,453 liquid Bulk as well as 743,707 dry bulk.
The port, Abubakar said, handled 2,522,959 containers as against 2,234,301 in 2018.
He declared that a total of 2,429 boats were serviced in 2019 as against 1,678 in 2018.
By: Chinedu Wosu
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