- As INEC probe panel on N23b bribe says REC got N140m cash
The Nigerian Navy has intercepted a boat carrying at least, 80 bags of rice allegedly being smuggled into the country from Benin Republic through the water ways.
A statement by the spokesman of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT, Lt. Elizabeth Ibrahim, also indicated that the rice intercepted by the operatives attached to its Forward Operation Base (FOB), Badagry, has now been handed over to the Customs Service, in the spirit of Collaboration.
“The command will not relent in dealing with persons who decide to test the will of the Customs and other security agencies,” the statement indicated, quoting the FOB Badagry, Capt. Abdulhakeem Ojebode.
“The Commanding Officer, FOB Badagry, Capt. Abdulhakeem Ojebode, who handed over the seized bags of rice to the personnel of the Nigerian Customs, said the suspects of the boat fled on sighting the naval operatives,” she said.
The statement quoted Ojebode as saying that the suspects abandoned the commodity and the boat and jumped into the river on sighting the Navy Patrol Vessel.
“This operation goes in line with the roles of the Navy to protect the territorial waters of Nigeria.
“The operation also goes in line in supporting the Nigerian Customs in its duty of ensuring that smugglers don’t use our waterways to bring items adjudged contraband into Nigeria,” Ojebode said.
Ojebode stressed that he and his officers would not rest but put in more efforts in the fight against smuggling in the country so as to checkmate this vice.
The statement also quoted the Deputy Comptroller Enforcement, Western Marine Command, Nigerian Customs, Mr Usman Abubakar, as commending the efforts of the navy in checking criminality on the nation’s waterways.
“I hail the effectiveness of the navy’s intelligence gathering.
“I appeal for continuous assistance from the navy to reduce smuggling to the barest minimum in the country,” Abubakar said, warning smugglers to desist from sabotaging the efforts of the government in revamping the economy.
In the meantime, a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), who completed his tenure on Friday, collected about N140million of the N23.29 billion 2015 election bribe, it was learnt at the weekend.
A former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) allegedly coordinated the bribe that has sparked a big scandal.
There were other startling revelations in the report of the probe committee headed by National Commissioner Baba Shettima Arfo, which will be considered today and tomorrow by INEC Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and 12 National Commissioners.
Most of the 202 indicted officials may be dismissed from service for gross misconduct and handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for trial.
The corrupt officials who have retired with their loot may either be blacklisted by INEC or have their entitlements withheld. Besides, the bribe may be deducted from their benefits.
INEC had in January raised the seven-member Arfo panel to “investigate the fallout of the 2015 General Elections with regards to staff indicted by EFCC”.
Other national commissioners in the committee are Prince Solomon Soyebi; Hajiya Amina Zakari; Alhaji Mohammed Haruna; Mrs. May Agbamuche Mbu(SAN); and Prof. A.T. Simbine.
Additional report from Nation