A suspected police vehicle conveying smuggled foreign rice has been intercepted by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Ogun 1 Area Command.
The Controller, Bamidele Makinde, disclosed this while briefing newsmen in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Tuesday.
According to him, the Hilux van, with police number plate, PF 10889 SPY, was arrested with 27 50kg bags of foreign parboiled rice.
Makinde said the driver of the vehicle abandoned it and fled immediately he sighted customs officers.
The Controller said though he could not authoritatively say the vehicle belongs to the police; he, however, posited that the number plate on the Hillux van with siren says it all.
Asked whether the van would be released to the police, he said the development would be communicated to the NCS headquarters in Abuja for necessary actions.
“As it is, it will be communicated to Abuja. The NCS headquarters has the final say on what happens to it. If it is found to be a police vehicle, it is only Abuja that can release it to the police authority,” Makinde stated.
Contacted, the Ogun State police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, said he was not aware of the seizure.
“I am not aware, but I will find out,” Oyeyemi said in a phone conversation.
Meanwhile the NCS boss noted that the command was able to impound 5,420 bags of rice between February 9 and March 21.
Within the period under review, Makinde explained that the command has also impounded, “133 sacks and 181 wraps (book size) of cannabis sativa; 18 units of vehicles; 13 kegs of vegetable oil; 8 bales of 19 small ‘Ghana-must-go bags’ and two sacks of second-hand cloths.”
Others are, “25 sacks and 4 bags of used shoes; 880 cartons of frozen poultry products and 26,725 litres of PMS.”
Makinde told reporters that the total duty paid value of the seized goods is N143,905,508.