Nigeria Customs Service Seizes Contraband

Nigeria Customs seizes contraband worth N95bn, arrests 44 suspects

*The Nigeria Customs Service has disclosed it intercepted vehicles, rice, others worth more than N30 billion, and arrested 44 suspects in Ogun, Oyo and Osun States

*Operatives of Ogun 1 Area Command intercepted about 1,839 contraband, including petroleum products, tyres, drugs, and perishable items worth N65 billion in the last year

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

For smuggling mostly counterfeit consumer items into the country through bush paths in Ogun, Oyo and Osun  States, the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Federal Operations Unit (FOU), Zone ‘A’ has said it intercepted contraband, such as foreign parboiled rice, used vehicles, textiles materials, and Indian hemp worth over N30billion from smugglers.

It was gathered the seizures were made almost a month after the Federal Government re-opened the land borders for economic activities in the country.

Usman Yahaya, Acting Customs Area Controller (CAC), FOU, Zone ‘A’ of the NCS, confirmed to The Nation, that the contrabands were intercepted between January 1, 2021 and Monday, February 8, 2021.

Sources at the Zone also revealed that the seized items were smuggled through the bush parts at Seme, Idiroko, Oyo and Osun states respectively.

The Acting Customs Area Controller disclosed that some of the seized items include fake pharmaceutical products worth N51million along Ijebu-Ode, in Ogun State, as well as Indian hemp smuggled from Ghana to Iseyin, in Oyo State.

Yahaya stated: “After the opening of Seme Border by the Federal Government, the smugglers thought they could cash on it to perpetrate their evil act, but the unit left them with heavy loses as evidenced in the seizures.”

According to him, a total of 142,677 seizures of different items were intercepted even as he vowed not to relent in making the environment tough for smugglers.

“A quick glance at the period under review, the Unit intercepted and seized a total of 142,677 seizures of different items. 41,652 bags of 50kg smuggled parboiled rice from Idiroko, Ipokia, Imeko, Iseyin, Igbo-ora and Seme.

“Others are 1,356 bags of 25kg smuggled parboiled rice; 4,529kg of Indian hemp smuggled from Ghana to Islington in Oyo State worth N710million.

“Sixty-six packs of Tramadol and other unregistered pharmaceutical products; 5,849 cartons of fake drugs; 266 units of means of conveyance and 218 used vehicles.”

He further revealed that “1,660 bales of textiles materials; 2,152 kegs of 25kg vegetable oil falsely declared at the other at the seaport of Apapa and Tin-Can Island port and 6,985 cartons of frozen poultry products, and 985 kegs of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) were seized.

The NCS Area Controller noted the 44 suspected suspects were arrested in connection with the seized items promised smugglers and their promoters of harder times.

Yahaya stated: “We arrested 44 suspects in connection with the seizures but as a Unit, we will continue to re-strategise to ensure that smugglers don’t have a hiding place. “Instead of incurring losses, I will advise smugglers to embrace legitimate business and become responsible citizens.”

In a related development, Operatives of the Ogun 1 Area Command of Nigeria Customs Service has intercepted no fewer than 1,839 contraband worth N65 billion between January 2020 and January 2021.

ConsumerConnect reports Mr. Peter Chado Kolo, Controller of the Command, during a briefing at Idiroko border post, stated that the amount was recorded from money generated from the auction of seized petroleum products and other perishable contraband.

The NCS Controller also explained the seizures were comprised of foreign parboiled rice, petroleum products, poultry products, used tyres, second-hand clothing, dangerous drugs- tramadol and cannabis Sativa, palm oil, assorted soap and body cream.

512 vehicles and other means of conveyance were also confiscated within the period under review, said he.

Kolo said: “The Command between the months of January and December 2020 collected revenue from the auction sales of seized petroleum products worth N64,212,500.00 and N1,557,500.00 in January 2021, bringing the total revenue generated to N65,770,000.00.

He stressed that “some of the contraband intercepted include, foreign parboiled rice – 47,601 bags of 50kg each (79 trailer loads), vehicles which served as means of conveyance and foreign used – 461 units, poultry products used tyres, second-hand clothing, dangerous drugs (tramadol and cannabis Sativa), palm oil, assorted soap and cream.

“For the month of January 2021, the seizures include foreign parboiled rice – 6,038 bags of 50kg each and 100 bags of 25kg each totalling – 6,138 bags, 44 units of vehicles used as means of conveyance and seven units of foreign used (Tokunbo) under detention bring the total to 51 units, among others.”

According to him, the Command was able to make these achievements due to aggressive stakeholders’ engagement and management, deployment of intelligence in all the operations across the state, structural reorganisation as well as improved motivation, discipline and total dedication to duty by the NCS officers in the Command.

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