A combined team of men of the Navy, Police and Customs in Kwara State has arrested 24 people in connection with smuggling of bags of rice from Benin Republic to Nigeria.
The security agents also impounded 850 50 kilograms of bags of rice allegedly smuggled into the country by the suspects.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin at the weekend, the state commissioner of police, Kayode Egbetokun, informed that 15 of the suspects were arrested in Offa by the Naval officers of the Navy School of Health Sciences, who he said also impounded the rice.
Egbetokun said that the 15 suspects were the drivers transporting the smuggled rice in various vehicles to some destinations where they were asked to keep the goods.
The police boss, who disclosed that the Navy handed over the suspects and the impounded goods to the police for investigations, added that investigations conducted by the police led to arrest of the remaining nine suspects.
He said the nine suspects whom he described as the owners of the smuggled goods were arrested at different locations both within and outside the state.
Egbetokun said that the suspects confessed that they bought the rice from Cotonou in Benin Republic to sell in Nigeria.
The police boss, who spoke with newsmen at the state police headquarters in Ilorin In company of officers of the state command of the Nigerian Customs Service said that the police had concluded their investigation and would hand over the suspects and the impounded goods to the Customs for further investigations.
Head of the dêlegate of the Customs officers at the venue, Adamu Yahaya, a Chief Superintendent of Customs thanked both the police an the Navy for the job well done and assured that the Customs would judiciously carry out its assignment on the matter.
SIKIRAT SHEHU, Ilorin