The Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone A of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), on Wednesday, said it intercepted 17 truckloads of foreign parboiled rice smuggled into the country from neighbouring countries along the Papalanto area of Ogun State.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos, the acting Customs Area Controller (CAC) of the unit, Hussein Ejibunu, said 9,697 bags of 50kg rice; 3,173 cartons of basmati rice at 5kg each and 297 bags (25kg) Foreign Parboiled Rice were intercepted in five weeks.
Ejibunu who said the unit intercepted seizures worth N4.6billion in January 2022 said the unit recovered N192million from under declaration of cargoes by clearing agents at the Apapa and Tin-Can Island seaports.
He said: “The Federal Operations Unit Zone A of Nigeria Customs Service has continued its vigorous anti-smuggling exploits in January 2022 with seizures with Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N4.6 billion and recovered N192million as revenue within 5 weeks.”
Ejibunu who further disclosed that 23 suspected smugglers were arrested said the unit’s anti-smuggling and revenue recovery activities will increase this year due to the support and logistics upgrade it received from the service management.
The acting Comptroller, however, gave the breakdown of the seizures, to include 1,076 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS); 68 sacks of used cloth; 2,535 pieces used tyres; 17 units of used vehicles and 206 used compressors.
Others are 1,076 kegs at 25litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), 195 bales of used clothes; 51 parcels (39.5KG) Indian hemp; 7,557,400 tablets of 225mg Tramadol; 7 units used motorcycles; 21 bales of new bed sheet and 57 units used plasma TV.
He added that “While many travelled to enjoy the yuletide season, our operatives were out there in the field to prevent illicit items from being smuggled into the country. From December 23, 2021, till date, a lot more have been seized thereby setting the stage for today’s Press Briefing.
“Despite the ups and downs, the Unit waxed on positively in the fight against smuggling as witnessed by you all. It is only regrettable that we lost 4 gallant officers in the line of duty that same year.
“If there is anything the Unit will not condone, it is to lose any of our officers to smugglers this year. A new approach and tactics strictly to our chest will be deployed this time around. Smugglers are by this warned to stay away from smuggling.
“Our zeal to perform even better this year is predicated on the untiring support we get from the CGC – Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) – and his Management by way of welfare, capacity building, insurance scheme and provision of logistics.
“We are equally well equipped with relevant Sections of Customs and Excise Management Act CAP C45 LFN 2004 as amended to perform our legitimate duties without fear or favour.
“Some of such provisions are; Section 158 which gives us the power to patrol freely; Section 11 – power to arrest and prosecute anyone seen to obstruct officers from performing their duties; Section 46 – Power to seize; Section 147 – Power to enter any premises without search warrant and many more.”
The Controller called on members of the public to always support the NCS with credible intelligence that would lead to the arrest of smugglers and the prevention of prohibited goods from entering the country.