Nigerian Military Intercepts, Apprehends 4 Rice Smugglers at Agbami

1. The Armed Forces of Nigeria has recorded successes in the ongoing Operations CALM WATERS and SWIFT RESPONSE coordinated by the Nigerian Navy. The successes recorded with in the week include arrest and seizure of foreign parboiled rice. The Forward Operating Base IBAKA anti-smuggling team intercepted and arrested a medium size wooden boat laden with 293 x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice and 4 suspects. Other items recovered include 2 x 90hp and 2 x 40hp outboard engines as well as 4 x pumping machines. Similarly, the Nigerian Navy Ship VICTORY anti- smuggling team intercepted and arrested a wooden boat laden with 601x 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice suspected to be smuggled from the Republic of Cameroon and 4 suspected smugglers at Agbami Platform. The items recovered and suspects were handed over to the Department of Marine Police, Calabar, for further investigations and possible prosecution.

2. In the same vein, following the cancellation of Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS 2020 which was scheduled to hold from 21 – 26 Mar 20 due to the global spread of COVID-19 pandemic, in its place Exercise TREASURE GUARD II was reactivated on 21 Mar 20 with the same objective. The Exercise was activated at the Western Naval Command. The objective of the Exercise was to assess the operational readiness of the Western Naval Command, Fleet and bases. To practice the Western Naval Command Fleet in tactical manoeuvres and anti-piracy operation as well as enhancing effective collaboration and operation ability between Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies amongst others.

3. A total of 6 ships namely Nigerian Navy Ships:Nigerian Navy Ships THUNDER, NGURU, DORINA, ANDONI, TUG DOLPHIN RIMA and TUG COMMANDER UGWU participated in the Exercise. Furthermore, the Forward Operating Bases within Western Naval Command Area of Responsiblity , 2 Nigerian Navy Agusta Helicopters, 2 Detachment of Special Boat Service and several boats as well as some Maritime Law Enforcement Agencies participated in the Exercise. During the Exercise, several tasks and simulations were carried out. These include interrogation of Vessels of Interest, Maritime Interdiction Operation, Visit Board Search and Seizure, Anti-piracy and Casuality Evacuation amongst others. The Exercise was deactivated on 23 Mar 20 after a debrief and wash down onboard NNS THUNDER. As a resemblance of Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS that involves foreign navies, the successfull conduct of Exercise Treasure Guard 2 is a pointer that the Nigerian Armed Forces can successfully plan and organise regional exercises similar to Exercise OBANGAME EXPRESS.

BENARD ONYEUKO
Brigadier General
Acting Director
Defence Media Operations
Defence Headquarters
31 March 2020