Nigerian Navy Nab 42 Suspected Cultists, 10 Smugglers in Cross River
BY: Joseph Ephraim
As part of Nigerian Navy’s nation-building contributions, no fewer than 42 suspected cultists have been arrested by Standby Team of the NNS VICTORY in Akpabuyo LGA of Cross River State.
The arrest was possible following a tip-off on the gathering of the suspected cultists and their cohorts on Sunday 24 May, at a hotel identified as Fotomass Hotel/Club which is near Nigerian Police Force (NPF) College Akpabuyo.
Men of the NNS VICTORY responded swiftly as they carried out a raid in the hotel premises which led to the arrest of 61 people who were believed to belong to two fraternities namely Black Axe and Klans.
Addressing newsmen in Navy Based Calabar, the Executive Officer NNS VICTORY, CP Ibrahim Gwaska who represented the Commander Rear Admiral VC Okeke, disclosed that after the arrest was made, preliminary investigation revealed that 42 of the persons arrested were indeed cult members.
The cult members have therefore been handed over to the 2IC Anti-kidnapping/Cultism squad of NPF, DSP Ogini Chukwuma Francis for further investigation.
In the same vein, during an Air Recce operation with the NN Agusta 109 E Helicopter on the same day, a wooden boat laden with several drums was sighted. Thereafter, NNS VICTORY gunboats on patrol were vectored to the position of the wooden boat.
The wooden boat was intercepted and arrested with 10 suspects and 130 drums of substance suspected to be Palm Oil smuggled from Cameroon.
Accordingly, the 10 suspects (a Cameroonian and 9 Nigerians) and the contraband items will be handed over to the Operation Swift Response of the Nigerian Customs Service for further investigation and possible persecution of the suspects.
In an address, the Commander expressed disbelief as he said that it is worrisome that the 2 sets of suspects have all contravened the COVID-19 protocols. Thus, the suspects have not only committed crimes against the state but have also put the Cross River State’s record of zero COVID-19 infection in great jeopardy.
According to him, “my advice for all the cultists, smugglers and other criminals is to desist from illegal acts and engage in legitimate business and associations or face the wrath of the law”.